Stoke City are eyeing a summer deal for Preston North End midfielder Ben Pearson, according to Alan Nixon of the Sun.
The Potters are set for a summer of change following their relegation from the Premier League, which ended their ten-year stay in the top flight.
The club have already moved quickly to secure the appointment of their new manager, prizing Gary Rowett away from play-off semi finalist Derby County following the departure of Paul Lambert.
Key players such as Joe Allen, Jack Butland and Xherdan Shaqiri are all expected to leave the Bet 365 stadium this summer and Rowett has earmarked Pearson as a top target as he looks to reshape his squad.
The 23-year old midfielder played a key role in Preston’s seventh place finish last season, and still has three years left to run on his contract. North End are expected to demand a fee of at least £10m.
Pearson progressed through the ranks of footballing giants Manchester United. Despite spending 12 years at the Red Devil’s, he failed to make an appearance for the first team.
In January 2015, he joined Barnsley on an initial month loan. His professional debut came against Yeovil Town in a 2-0 victory at Oakwell. Later that month, he scored his first senior goal, scoring the winner in a 2-1 win over Port Vale.
In the summer of 2015, he rejoined Barnsley on a six month loan deal before joining Preston North End on a permanent deal. Pearson has played 84 times for the Lilywhites, scoring once.
The midfielder is well known for his tough-tackling and combative style and would be a top signing for the Potters, as they look to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.