Liverpool Transfer Rumours: Will Hughes' Price Tag Should End Reds' Pursuit
Recent seasons have seen the ideology over English players and over-priced valuations spiral out of control, and it’s a sentiment that’s hard to argue with.
Anfield has served as somewhat of a hub for any such thoughts to be aimed at, too, with the near £55 million purchase of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing serving as one of the main reasons as to why.
On top of the English attribute, though, youth is another factor in just how some of these stars might be priced—with Derby County’s Will Hughes fitting both bills as one of the England Under-21 side's more promising assets.
Tom Hopkinson of the Mirror has claimed that the Reds are chasing a deal to bring the teenager to Merseyside, but that Hughes’ current club have aimed to dissuade any such notion by slapping a £15 million tag on his signature.
At just 18 years of age, the midfielder is one of the Championship’s most enticing prospects. However, he certainly is not worth a cost of double what Brendan Rodgers paid for Philippe Coutinho and more than what Liverpool shelled out for Daniel Sturridge.
For the Reds to justify such an outlay, Hughes would not only need to come in and remain one of the club’s most talented playmakers for years to come, but make a direct impact on the Premier League stage.
As things stand, that is something that simply isn’t assured.
In fairness, the Rams’ starlet may be ready for the step up. However, for the money being associated with his services, Hughes doesn’t represent Liverpool’s needs at the moment.
A club still in a state of transition following their fall away from the top four places in recent years, Rodgers’ squad needs to concentrate on its senior ranks and the immediate propulsion back to European football.
For example, Manchester United’s ongoing success means that they can splurge on a prospect such as Wilfried Zaha for £12 million, even risking his struggle to acclimate to the English top flight.
Would Hughes be worth a fee of £15 million?
Unfortunately, Liverpool can’t take the same chances. At Anfield, the youngster would be competing with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva, Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen for a spot—none of whom Jonjo Shelvey or even Jay Spearing could manage to dislodge, despite both claiming massive plaudits early in their development.
What’s more, Hughes’ acquisition would stand to obstruct the ranks of the club’s academy, which just now looks to be churning out some very encouraging results.
Right now, Andre Wisdom, Martin Kelly, Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe, Samed Yesil and Joao Carlos Teixeira are just some of the Reds’ more promising aspiring talents.
Indeed, Liverpool’s homegrown ranks are seeing much success. Leaving the door open to the chance of a playmaker of similar or better standard coming through would be a much more financially shrewd option.
It's a notion that the Liverpool Reserves fan account has expressed via Twitter:
Any move for Will Hughes would be pointless IMO. Would be disregarding younger players such as Suso at the club and wasting money.— Liverpool FC U18/U21 (@LFC_reserves) August 25, 2013
It’s become part of the sport to see these types of fees becoming associated for younger and younger players, but Hughes does not warrant a price along the same lines as what’s been paid for Marouane Fellaini, Santi Cazorla and Moussa Dembele in recent years. There’s certainly better value to be had.
Of course, that’s assuming Derby aren’t actually willing to sell for less, and that the young maestro does in fact move for his rumoured fee.
After all, in a seller’s market, that appears to be the most likely route.
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