Preston have signed Bury midfielder Simon Whaley for an initial £250,000.
Whaley is Preston's first signing of 2006
Whaley, who favours the right side of midfield, has scored seven goals for the Shakers this season, has agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal.
Preston boss Billy Davies said: "It's a tremendous signing. He's a young player with great potential, and his pace and ability will be fantastic assets."
Whaley, 20, could eventually cost Preston £300,000 if he makes sufficient appearances for the club.