Crystal Palace have reportedly opened talks with Watford contract rebel Will Hughes over a potential transfer in the ongoing window.

According to a report in Daily Mail, Crystal Palace are one of the parties keeping a close watch on midfielder Will Hughes who has refused to sign a new five-year deal at the Vicarage Road. The Hertfordshire outfit have reacted to the 26-year-old’s refusal by relegating him to the Under-23’s.

Watford signed the 26-year-old midfielder in the summer of 2018. When Marco Silva was in charge, the Hertfordshire club paid Derby County measly £8 million for his signing. Despite the fact that several managers have come and gone, Hughes remained at Watford.

However, the Hornets are now in a difficult situation as Hughes’ contract is up next summer; they can either keep a disinterested player in Hughes at Vicarage for another year before losing him for free or can offload the player at a cut-price deal to net themselves some transfer fees which can be utilized to find an apt replacement or strengthen other areas on the pitch.

This contract saga has alerted Crystal Palace, who are looking to exploit the situation and provide the former Derby County man with an escape route. Hughes has ample experience playing in the top-flight, having made 77 appearances, in which he has netted five goals and registered seven assists in the process.

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Hughes is a technically sound midfielder who is recognized for his ability to drift into and between tight spaces. His all-round capabilities make him a great asset to have in the midfield. Over the years, he has taken the midfield enforcer role and is now more involved in doing the dirty work for his team’s cause.

The 26-year-old would be a solid addition to bolster Crystal Palace’s midfield; he is very versatile enough to play anywhere in midfield, has a wand of a left foot handy at switching sides or drifting inside and open up to take a hit at goal.

Palace looked clueless and out of ideas in their Premier League opener against Chelsea. The Eagles are witnessing a major overhaul under the new manager Patrick Vieira. They have already brought in the likes of Michael Olise, Marc Guehi, and Joachim Andersen, Conor Gallagher on loan and backup goalkeeper Remi Matthews.

There is an expectation that it is going to be a busy end to the summer at Selhurst Park as the Eagles are still on the lookout for another midfielder and two forwards to replenish their squad with quality depth. Other players on Palace’s shopping list include Huddersfield Town’s Lewis O’Brien, RB Leipzig’s Ademola Lookman and Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson.

If the Eagles are to buy the former England Under-21 International, then they should act quickly as a tug-of-war between other clubs could be expected if he does become available at a bargain price. What remains to be seen is whether the Palace hierarchy, having held talks, will step up their interest with a formal proposal or move to other alternatives.

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