Tyias Browning has put pen-to-paper on a new two-and-a-half year contract at Everton and immediately joined Preston North End on loan until the end of the season.
The 22-year-old heads to Deepdale, where he will link up with Blues teammate Aiden McGeady, and will be eligible for their league trip to Cardiff City on Tuesday night.
Preston, managed by Simon Grayson, currently sit 10th in the Championship table, just four points off the play-off places.
Browning, who joined Everton as a schoolboy, has recently returned to full fitness after missing almost a year of football with a serious knee injury.
Prior to that, the Liverpool-born defender, who can play at centre-back or right-back, had appeared nine times for the Blues' first team, having made his debut against Liverpool at Anfield in September 2014.
The youngster also played two games for Wigan Athletic in the Championship while on loan in 2014 and will now get the opportunity to add to his bank of experience.
“It’s been a tough year and there’s been ups and downs but I’m just delighted now that I’m staying and I’ve got another chance to be playing again,” Browning, whose new deal runs until the summer of 2019, told evertontv. “I’m just eager to get playing again because it’s been tough and I have missed playing.
“I’ve learned a lot since Wigan and that was a long time ago now. I think this loan will be a lot different and a better experience for me.
“David Unsworth’s got me ready. He’s been working a lot with me one-to-one and he’s given me a lot of support. It’s going to be a big challenge and I know Preston will be fighting [for the play-offs] and that’s why I can’t wait to get playing.
“Everyone knows the Championship is a difficult league and there’s a lot of competition but that’s what I need right now.
“I know a couple of the lads there. I’m sure Aido [McGeady] will welcome me with open arms. I haven’t spoken to him yet but I know he’s enjoying himself there and hopefully I can fit in as well.
“I feel ready. As I say, Unsy’s worked a lot with me, I’ve played a few games for the Under-23s and I feel like it’s time for me to push on.
“Hopefully when I get back I can push on and be pushing for a first-team place like I was before I got injured.
“This is the only club I know and that’s the level I want to get back to. I’ve been here 12 years so I do enjoy being here, I’m comfortable, I’m close to home and it’s great to know I’ll be staying.”