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Emirates Stadium side target talented Championship midfielder.
Derby County teenager Will Hughes attracts Premier League interest ahead of possible England debut
Derby manager Nigel Clough is under pressure from the club’s American owners to raise £1.8 million in January, increasing the chances of the 17-year-old midfielder being sold during the transfer window.
Hughes is poised to become the second youngest player to represent the England Under-21s in Tuesday night’s friendly against Northern Ireland to raise his profile even further.
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has sent scouts to watch Hughes this season, while Manchester City and Liverpool are also aware of his potential. His manager, Clough, has already compared him to a young Liam Brady.
Arsenal are understood to have made tentative contact over a possible deal. Wenger is keen to recruit more young talent for the future and has received glowing reports from chief scout Steve Rowley.
Derby will ask for at least £4 million and will attempt to resist any offers in the new year but are aware that an auction could raise the sale price even higher. The club’s owners are also keen to lower costs, primarily the wage bill.
Arsene Wenger has happily ‘shopped’ in the English lower leagues a fair bit in recent seasons and has seen those he has brought in from his route thrive in the Premier League and may well feel that Derby County starlet Will Hughes is also destined to follow a similar path.
£4m in today’s transfer market is a fairly low price to pay for a player of Hughes’s ability and potential. The 17 year old is set to make his England Under 21 bow and already has a smattering of senior first team football under his belt.
Wenger has seen the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson all make impacts in his Gunners squad, the quartet having already made over 400 appearances for the North London club.
Hughes could well be a sensible addition for the long term and Derby County’s financial problems may make such a move hard to turn down.
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