Watford close in on Derby and England U21 midfielder – report

Ashley Colbourn
Will Hughes: Derby star linked with Everton

Watford are close to agreeing a fee for Derby County and England U21 midfielder Will Hughes, according to The Telegraph.

The 22-year-old has never played in the Premier League, but Liverpool and Arsenal are two top clubs who have kept an eye on him since he broke into the first team at Pride Park aged 16.

The fee is believed to be £8m rising to £10m with instalments, which would enable Derby manager Gary Rowett significant room to manoeuvre in the transfer market as he looks to build a squad capable of promotion.

Last season Hughes criticised certain players for choosing to be a Premier League squad player rather than play regular first team football in an interview with the Telegraph.

He said: “You look at players in the Premier League at big teams, turning 20, 21, and not getting a sniff. I think some of them are happy now to pick up the money, sit on the bench for the under-23s, wish their career away.

“I couldn’t think of anything worse. Some players are comfortable sitting on the bench but I don’t like that all. I can’t imagine that ever happening with me.”

Hughes would be new Watford manager Marco Silva’s first signing at Vicarage Road, whilst Tom Cleverley agreed a deal to join the Hornets under the management of Walter Mazzari.

The midfielder made 38 Championship appearances last season and is currently in Poland with the England U21 squad for the European Championships.