Preston are on the verge of signing Doncaster Rovers midfielder Ben Whiteman in a seven-figure deal.
We understand the move will be announced on Thursday, with a medical and all other formalities completed over the last 24 hours.
Whiteman, 24, has been one of the top midfielders in League One for some time now, and his imminent arrival at Deepdale is a move of real intent and ambition.
Many have suggested that Whiteman could be Ben Pearson’s replacement at Deepdale, given that he is out of contract at the end of the season.
The parallels are there; they were both in the Manchester United ranks, they both hail from Greater Manchester, they both flourished in Yorkshire before heading to Preston – in Pearson’s case, Barnsley – and they are both tenacious midfielders with quality on the ball.
When Whiteman played against Preston in January 2019, he ran the show with a superb performance from a holding midfield role, dominating the game as Doncaster swept Preston aside.
That’s similar to how Pearson has been used under Alex Neil, but what if Whiteman actually ends up being the heir to another North End midfielder?
Doncaster posted a video of Whiteman’s goals from last season, and even if you take it the brilliantly-dispatched penalties out of the equation – again reminiscent of Gallagher – the technique on some of his goals is outstanding.
Whether it’s left foot or right foot, Whiteman strikes the ball so cleanly. He can strike moving balls brilliantly, and if you want him to arrow a half-volley into the roof of the net, he can do that too.
The technique is so Gallagher-esque, and that goal threat is something we haven’t really seen from Pearson; he’s only scored two goals for Preston in five years at the club.
Gallagher is 37 later this year, and will need a playmaking replacement. His quality at picking out passes and showing outstanding technique from long range suggests that he could yet be Gallagher’s replacement instead of Pearson’s – and likeness to both of Preston’s key midfielders of the Alex Neil era must excite fans.