Many Manchester United fans had high hopes for Josh Harrop’s future at the club, but he’s chosen a different path, leaving Old Trafford for Deepdale earlier today. And the Red Devils’ loss is definitely the Lilywhites’ gain.
The attacking midfielder was part of an uncharacteristically poor Under-23s side at United last term. However, he still managed to show his exciting talent, with eight goals and two assists in Premier League 2 – including a stunning final-day hat-trick against Tottenham Hotspur.
And there are no questions about his confidence and belief on the big stage. The 21-year-old scored an absolute screamer just 14 minutes into his first-team debut for Jose Mourinho’s men.
Having also been involved in the England youth setup – making his Under-20s debut at the age of just 18 – it’s clear his displays for the Red Devils have caught the eye far beyond M16.
Unsurprisingly, it seems Preston boss Simon Grayson has had to fight hard to secure the youngster’s signature, telling media: “Josh is a player who has attracted a lot of interest this summer and we had to move quickly to secure his signature.”
One thing which could well have convinced Harrop to choose PNE over other contenders for his signature is the chance to reunite with former United youth teammate Ben Pearson.
The pair were both key members of the Red Devils’ Under-21 side until Pearson headed first to Barnsley in 2015, before joining the Lilywhites last summer.
So Grayson already has a ready-made partnership in the centre of the park, while attacking midfielder Harrop is also confident surging forward on the ball, making him the ideal choice to offer support to the effective but not-terribly-mobile Simon Makienok.
All in all, it’s a fantastic bit of business from the Lancashire club, who have also made another savvy pair of acquisitions in the shape of former Norwich City stopper Declan Rudd, and prolific Irish striker Sean Maguire.
With all that in mind, Preston look overpriced for promotion at 12/1…especially if they keep making signings of Harrop’s calibre.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing