Championship side Preston North End have signed highly-rated striker Layton Stewart from Liverpool for an undisclosed fee, the club have announced.
Liverpool have officially announced the departure of academy star striker Layton Stewart to Championship club Preston North End on a permanent transfer. According to The Athletic, the Reds had originally planned a developmental loan move as “the next step” for the youngster, with several EFL clubs keen on his services, but a permanent deal has now been struck.
Stewart, who joined Liverpool at the age of seven, had long been thought of as one of Liverpool’s most exciting academy products, but unfortunately, he picked up a long-term ACL injury that derailed his progress slightly, keeping him sidelined for almost 13 months. However, he made a full recovery last campaign and returned to the pitch to build a strong foundation for himself.
The 20-year-old enjoyed a fine season, scoring 11 goals in 17 Premier League 2 matches in the 2022–23 season whilst also making his senior debut in a Carabao Cup victory against League One club Derby County in September 2022. For the under-18s, he has a similarly prolific record and is a hotly-tipped prospect for the future.
However, he is now dropping down to the Championship to join Preston, where he has penned a three-year contract. The deal includes a buy-back clause, which is standard practise from the club when it comes to deals like this involving high-ceiling talent.
The striker was supposed to become the latest academy star to make a loan move, but as his chances of breaking into the first team anytime soon at Liverpool looked slim, a move to the Championship was understood to be best for all parties involved.
Liverpool shares a close relationship with Preston, having loaned Sepp van den Berg in the past, and Calvin Ramsay is currently on loan at Deepdale, while centre-back Ben Davies was snapped up several years ago.
It’s certainly an exciting addition to the forward options at Deepdale. Given the youngster’s lack of senior experience, he may need some time to acclimatise to Championship football, but he will surely be afforded more first-team opportunities and will get the chance to test himself in one of the most competitive and physically demanding leagues in the world.