A bold move is what it is going to take to bring in the long-term replacement for Steven Gerrard.
According to Tom Hopkinson of the Mirror Football, Derby is maintaining it will take a bid of over £15 million to pry Hughes away. It's not just about the money, either. As Hopkinson writes, "The Rams will insist on a season-long loan back being part of any deal."
Wallace reported a deal between these two clubs was "close." That report made it reasonable to expect news of this move being finalized. However, "close" may have been a bit of an exaggeration.
Derby manager: No Liverpool offer for England Under-21 international Will Hughes. http://t.co/6bYiDVZWEd— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) August 22, 2013
Whatever the case with past offers or non offers, it is likely there will be some haggling over Hughes' price in the future.
As Wallace alludes to, Hughes is rated at £10 million. However, according to Hopkinson, the Rams are looking for at least 50 percent more than that. Obviously, that is a healthy jump, but it's not unwarranted. Derby's stance is certainly understood. Hughes is a rare and prodigious talent.
Despite his young age, Hughes is not new to the spotlight. He's been on the radar of fans of English football for a couple of years.
He played in 35 games for Derby last season. That was just part of his rapid progression after he made his maiden Championship appearance for the Rams at the age of 16.
Hughes is a creative and controlled player. His pinpoint passes and vision are the kinds of talent that can initiate ample quick-strike attacks.
As Wallace points out, his play and potential have brought in the interest of "all the leading Premier League clubs."
That interest, combined with the accomplished resume of an 18-year-old, has made for a unique set of circumstances for a transfer.
Hughes is not currently worth the steep price Derby is asking for, and he may never be worth it. He certainly wouldn't be the first player not to live up to potential. He still has to get stronger to become an elite player.
Still, for Liverpool, that gamble is worth it. Hughes' technical prowess is well suited for Brendan Rodgers' style of play, and it would be hard to find a more exciting replacement for the 33-year-old Gerrard.
While the price for Hughes may seem a bit steep, in a few years, Liverpool fans could be calling it a steal.