Why Ben Pearson would be a real coup for Celtic on a free transfer
The 25-year-old’s existing contract at Deepdale is due to expire at the end of the season, meaning he’s free to discuss his next move with other clubs across the continent this month. The Hoops have shown a genuine interest in the midfielder after being altered to his potential availability on a free transfer next summer.
Pearson started his career in the youth ranks of Manchester United but never made a competitive appearance for the Red Devils, despite representing the club across various age-group levels. He had his first taste of senior professional football on loan at Barnsley, where he spent one-and-a-half seasons.
The midfielder’s potential prompted Preston to offer him a route to the Championship in January 2016. Pearson quickly established himself as a key player for the Lilywhites and has been among the best-performing deep midfielders in the English second-tier over the past few years.
The former Man United academy prospect has featured 165 times for the club in all competitions, scoring twice and registering 5 assists in the process.
Putting things into perspective, Celtic should grab the opportunity to bring Ben Pearson north of the border by negotiating a pre-contract agreement with the midfielder.
That would see him join the Hoops’ ranks ahead of the 2021-22 season. The 25-year-old has been a consistent performer in the EFL Championship and his tough-tackling, dynamic approach should suit Neil Lennon’s philosophy at Parkhead
Celtic aren’t really in immediate need of midfield reinforcements. But Pearson would be a good acquisition with an eye on the future. Scott Brown, 35, is nearing his twilight and is out of contract next summer. Pearson, to that end, ticks plenty of boxes to come through the door as a long-term replacement for the club legend.
Ismaila Soro’s emergence remains a massive positive in Celtic’s quest for a replacement for Brown. Having said that, however, speculations have been rife over the futures of some of the other midfielders at Parkhead. And Pearson could be set for a big role in the upcoming campaign if the Hoops end up losing some of their prized assets in January or next summer.
Ryan Christie has been targeted by Arsenal and Newcastle while Callum McGregor remains linked with a reunion with Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City. Olivier Ntcham could also be set for a departure amid interest from West Brom after struggling for regular playtime this season. Signing an out-and-out central midfielder like Pearson, to that end, would definitely make a lot of sense in footballing terms.
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Ben Pearson could be a real asset to Celtic’s midfield for several years to come if they manage to strike a deal for him this month. His experience in the Championship, coupled with his quality on the ball, should make him a massive bargain for the Hoops on a free transfer.
The Preston star still potentially has his best years ahead of him at 25, meaning Celtic should try their best to persuade him over a move north of the border.