MOTHERWELL striker Louis Moult will join Preston for an undisclosed fee, the Fir Park club have announced.
The 25-year-old, who has scored 50 goals in 98 appearances for the Steelmen, will move south on January 1 after agreeing a three-and-a-half year deal.
Moult is out with a hamstring injury but remains available for potential selection if he returns to fitness before the end of the year.
Moult, whose contract was due to expire in the summer, rejected several offers to extend his stay at the Lanarkshire club and will now join up with former Hamilton manager Alex Neil at Deepdale.
“Louis has made a terrific contribution to this football club,” manager Stephen Robinson told Motherwell’s official website. “We are sorry to see him go at this stage but he leaves with our thanks and best wishes.
“The player made clear he would not be extending his stay after the end of the season. So when the offer came from Preston, we had to weigh up whether the money would benefit the club against the risk and reward of keeping him and then allowing him to leave on a free.
“We accepted the offer based on that it would be best for all parties now that a club has agreed a contract with the player.”
Moult moved to Motherwell from Wrexham in the summer of 2015 and is the Ladbrokes Premiership’s leading scorer this campaign with eight goals, netting a further six on the club’s run to the Betfred Cup final.
Motherwell chairman Jim McMahon insisted the Fir Park board did everything in their power to persuade Moult to stay.
“The board would like to sincerely thank Louis for his efforts and contribution during what has been a sterling two-and-a-half years at Fir Park,” he said.
“We were obviously desperate for the player to stay with us and made him numerous offers over the last 12 months, the last of which being literally everything this club can realistically afford, given our size.
“However, we also understand and appreciate the player was made a life-changing offer from Preston and we completely respect his wish and desire to move on now.
“For our part, after also helping us reach our first League Cup final in 12 years, we have secured what we believe to be a very competitive price given the limited time left on his contract, with the ability to earn more in the future, which has worked well for us in previous transfers.
“Our manager Stephen Robinson, along with his recruitment team, have been working on a replacement for some time now and when the window opens, we will look to strengthen our squad in a number of different areas.”