Written by Andy Jones (@TheRamblingHam)
AFC Bournemouth has completed the signing of Preston North End ace Ben Pearson, with the 26-year-old arriving on the south coast for an undisclosed fee.
The defensive midfielder has signed a three-and-a-half year deal at the Dorset club and will wear the number 22 shirt, joining Jack Wilshere as the clubs second signing of 2021.
The former Manchester United academy graduate had attracted interest from Neil Lennon’s Celtic, however Pearson revealed to afcbTV: “As soon as I heard of Bournemouth’s interest I wanted to come here.”
The Cherries’ latest acquisition has already set his sights on promotion to the Premier League, revealing it “is somewhere I want to be as well” and believes he and the club hold “the same aim”, which will be music to the ears of many Bournemouth fans as the club seeks an instant return to the top flight.
Having spent five years at Preston, playing 165 times for the Lancashire club, Pearson is all too aware of the challenges that lay ahead for him, saying: “The Championship is a difficult league but I’m experienced here and know what it’s about. I felt like I was ready for a new challenge and now it’s here I’m really looking forward to starting training and getting to know my new teammates.”
Neil Blake, Bournemouth’s Chief Executive, was “delighted” Pearson had chosen the club and is “excited” by the prospect of the Englishman helping the club in the hunt for promotion..
Mr Blake said: “There were a number of clubs trying to sign Ben, so I am delighted he has chosen Bournemouth for the next stage of his career.
“Over the past four years, Ben has proved himself to be an outstanding midfielder at this level and we believe this club is the right place for him to develop and continue to improve under our manager Jason Tindall and his coaching staff.
“Ben has a range of attributes which will complement those of our existing midfielders and he is an exciting signing who will prove a big asset to our promotion push.”
With the addition of Pearson and Wilshere to the midfield, Cherries boss Jason Tindall may have to offload another midfielder.
Dan Gosling has been linked with a move away from the club. The former Newcastle midfielder’s contract is due to expire at the end of the current campaign, and has already been subject to a bid from Nottingham Forest – although the 30-year-old turned down the offer.
One outgoing transfer that has been confirmed is the departure of defender Jack Simpson. The 24-year-old has a pre-contract agreement with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers and will join the Glasgow club at the end of his contract in the summer.
Previous reports had suggested Simpson would move immediately for a fee of £750k, but the versatile defender will remain on the south coast until the end of the season.