Preston North End have signed Manchester United midfielder Ben Pearson on a permanent transfer.
The 21-year-old, who was on loan at Barnsley for the first half of the season, arrives at Deepdale for an undisclosed fee and signs a two-and-a-half year contract, according to Preston’s official website.
Pearson joined the Red Devils in 2004 but never made an appearance for the senior side, despite showing promise as a youth international for England from every level between U16 and U20.
North End manager Simon Grayson explained that Pearson has long been on his radar, and his 50 appearances over two loan spells at Barnsley convinced him that the youngster was worth buying.
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Grayson told pnefc.net: “We knew about Ben whilst he was at Manchester United and he was the right age to go out and get some games and we have kept our eye on him whilst he has been at Barnsley.
“He has played close on 50 games on the spin for them. He has played as a holding midfield player; played in a three getting forward, and we see him as energetic, box-to-box, likes a tackle and coming from Manchester United he is decent on the ball as well.
“He’s at the right age; wants to go and make a good career in the game and we are delighted that we have been backed by the owner to spend the money to bring Ben here and also delighted he has come here and committed his future to being a Championship player and beyond.”
Preston have a good relationship with the Old Trafford club. They had Will Keane on loan for six months prior to the New Year, before he was recalled by Louis van Gaal to bolster his striking options.
Keane returning to United opened up the possibility of Preston taking another player on loan from the Premier League club, but they obviously feel that Pearson is worth investing in for the long term.
Pearson has been handed the No.4 shirt by North End and will go straight into their squad for their Championship clash with Bristol City on Tuesday.
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