Stoke City manager Gary Rowett wants to make Ben Pearson his first signing of the summer, according to football journalist Alan Nixon.
Preston North End midfielder Pearson is a top target for the Potters this summer as they look to rebuild their squad ahead of the Championship campaign.
Stoke suffered a disappointing relegation to the Championship after finishing in the bottom three in the Premier League and changes are already underway at the bet365 Stadium with Rowett replacing Paul Lambert as manager.
A host of players are expected to depart this summer and this opens the door for replacements.
One area that will need addressing is in the centre of midfield.
Badou Ndiaye and Joe Allen are both likely to move away from Stoke this summer while the likes of Charlie Adam and Stephen Ireland are out of contract.
Pearson could be brought in as the replacement.
The 23-year-old has been with Preston since 2016 and has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the division.
The former Manchester United academy product, who has represented England at various youth levels, is rated at £10m by Preston, which could fend off Stoke’s interest.
Stoke need to prepare for the Championship by signing proven players at this level and you will struggle to find many better options than Pearson in midfield.
He is a complete central midfielder at the age of 23 and he is only going to get better – do not be surprised if you see him in the Premier League in the next year or two.
But £10m is a very steep price for him and that could put the Potters off.
Preston fans – Can you keep Pearson? Stoke fans – Do you want him? Let us know below…
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