Gunners join chase for highly-rated starlet.
Arsenal are ready to compete with Premier League rivals Liverpool for the signing of exciting young talent Will Hughes from Derby County, CaughtOffside understands.
The 18-year-old midfielder is rated as one of the best up-and-coming English players, and has been eyed up by several top clubs since first breaking into the first-team setup at Derby.
A product of the Championship club’s youth system, Hughes posseses great natural ability with the ball at his feet, and has been compared with Barcelona stars Xavi and Andres Iniesta for his ability to dictate play from the middle of the park. This has led to Barcelona themselves keeping tabs on his progress.
Liverpool have recently made enquiries about the youngster, who is a regular for the England Under-21s, and they have been told that he will command a fee of at least £15million by Derby manager Nigel Clough.
With the Reds expected to come in with another offer before the end of the transfer window, this has alerted Arsenal, who are also admirers of Hughes, and it is thought that Arsene Wenger is ready to match their offer and look to persuade the player to choose a switch to the Emirates Stadium instead of Anfield.
Arsenal are known for their tendancy to bring in young players on the cheap and nurture them, and Wenger has looked to the lower leagues in recent years for young British talent, signing the likes of Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson from Championship and League One clubs and giving them a chance in the Arsenal first team.
Hughes may find competition for places hard at Arsenal, with many established stars already playing in his position at the club, but the prospect of forming a long-term midfield partnership with Jack Wilshere for club and country is an exciting one.
Liverpool will still be hoping they can persuade him to join, as Brendan Rodgers is also keen to build and develop a young side at Anfield, based around skillful and technical players.
There may be more potential for regular football straight away at Liverpool, as Hughes could be trusted to become the team’s main playmaker following disappointment from recent signings Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen.
Newcastle have also been linked with Hughes, but it seems likely that the England youth star will only leave Derby at this stage for a move to a top club that can truly help him progress and fulfill his tremendous potential.