Jordan Hugill got his dream move to the Premier League last night as Preston landed a club record fee for his sale to West Ham United.
The powerful striker, who less than five years ago was playing non-league football, beat the 11pm deadline by a few minutes to compete the move to the London Stadium.
He signed a four-and-a-half year contract, Hugill moving for a fee believed to be around the £9m mark.
His former club Port Vale will get a cut of the fee, having had a sell-on clause when they sold him to PNE in 2014.
The deal which takes Hugill to the capital includes a sell-on in North End’s favour.
West Ham’s interest in the 25-year-old came late in the window, their first approach being yesterday morning.
That followed contact from Crystal Palace on Tuesday. Palace’s interest seemed to cool but they did come back with another bid yesterday afternoon.
By then Hugill was at West Ham and Palace missed out.
Hammers boss David Moyes – who managed PNE for more than four years – played a big role in the negotiations.
Moyes had been a regular visitor to Deepdale and has seen Hugill play several times.
After completing the move, Hugill said: “To get this over the line is amazing for me and it’s now a new challenge.
“Hopefully I can bring what I did at Preston here and show what I can do.”
A statement from PNE said: “The club felt they could not stand in his way of the chance of top-flight football after contact was instigated by the Hammers on Wednesday morning and the player indicated his desire to leave.
“Preston would like to thank Jordan for his efforts during his time with the club and wish him the very best for this fantastic opportunity.”
With Hugill gone, North End’s forward line will have a different look.
Louis Moult will be the man likely to spearhead the attack, a job which was done by Callum Robinson against Nottingham Forest.
Sean Maguire is another option although he will not be back from hamstring surgery until late February.
On the incoming front, Preston were frustrated in their efforts to bring in Ryan Ledson from Oxford.
They had two bids for the midfielder knocked back by the U’s who chose not to enter into dialogue with them.
PNE also tried to land Crewe midfielder Callum Ainley but the Gresty Road side wanted the 20-year-old to be loaned back to them for the rest of the season.
In addition to Hugill’s sale, two other pieces of outgoing business were done yesterday.
Eoin Doyle joined Oldham on loan and Marnick Vermijl went on loan to Scunthorpe United.