Crystal Palace are reportedly set to battle with Premier League rivals Burnley for the signing of Watford contract rebel Will Hughes.
According to a report from the Daily Mail, Crystal Palace are interested in swooping away English midfielder Will Hughes from Watford but will face competition from Premier League rivals Burnley.
Hughes came through the ranks at Derby County and went on to establish himself as a household name in the Championship, making close to 200 appearances for the Rams before he signed for Watford in the summer of 2017. Since joining the Hornets, the 26-year-old has been more or less a regular presence in the middle of the park at Vicarage Road.
To date, Hughes has featured 118 times for Watford, scoring eight goals and setting up ten more. A hard-working, all-round midfielder, he has entered the final year of his contract with the newly-promoted Premier League and has already rejected a two-year deal put forth by the club, leading to speculations over his future.
Watford have banished him from the first-team following this, with Hughes currently training with the Under-23s. As a result, an exit looks all but certain, leading to interest from Crystal Palace and Burnley.
Crystal Palace have bolstered their midfield department this summer with the loan signing of Conor Gallagher from Chelsea. The young Englishman put on a fine display in the goalless draw against Brentford on Saturday. However, with Eberechi Eze out with an injury and James McArthur entering the final phase of his career at 33 years old, another midfield addition would not go amiss at Selhurst Park.
Hughes, to that end, has emerged as a transfer target for Patrick Vieira & co. The report states that the Eagles’ interest in the 26-year-old is in advanced stages, with a £5 million offer said to be in the works, but Burnley, too, have now made their presence felt and have made a proposal of their own to land the Englishman.
Burnley have four central midfielders on their books currently, out of which three are into their thirties. The other, Josh Brownhill, has emerged as a transfer target for several Premier League clubs, including Leeds United. Even if the 25-year-old ends up staying, Sean Dyche will be well-served by adding another option to what is quite a limited roster at his disposal.
Hughes’ contract situation makes things tricky for Watford, although they are determined not to lose him for a measly sum of £5 million. It now remains to be seen if either Palace of Burnley are able to capture the signing of the ex-Derby County midfielder before the transfer window closes.