Derby Chief Denies Hughes to Liverpool Rumours

Michael Regan

Following rumours Andre Wisdom's Derby loan could be the precursor to a deal that sends Will Hughes to Liverpool, the club's chief executive has taken steps to deny any link—or any further movement at all when it comes to Hughes.

Derby County's Will Hughes is, by most accounts, England's next great midfield hope, with that comes speculation the 18-year-old could fetch a fee as high as £15M when he makes the leap to a Premier League side. Liverpool have, since the arrival of Fenway Sports Group, shown a fondness for snapping up young and—when possible—English talent. Throw in that Hughes has made no secret of his fondness for the red half of Merseyside, and rumours linking the player to Liverpool seem inevitable.

It's no surprise then that Hughes has been linked since January, and rumours over the summer hinted at the possibility Brendan Rodgers would seek to secure the young talent before loaning him back to the Rams. Though that move never transpired, recent weeks have seen suggestions Andre Wisdom's Derby loan, which took place following the close of the window, may have been the first step in Liverpool's efforts to secure Hughes in January. Not so, says Derby chief executive Sam Rush.

"I think the Andre Wisdom deal was very much as a result of Liverpool's desire for him to come to Derby and further his football education," said Rush. "Andre was the top of [manager] Steve McClaren's list of people he wanted to bring in to strengthen the squad. So no, there is no connection with Will Hughes at all. There has been no further movement in terms of Will. From our point of view, we are just looking forward to watching him continue to play for Derby County."

Wisdom's move always made sense for the player's development, especially given Liverpool's depth at centre half, and while any friendly correspondence between the clubs engendered by it certainly won't hurt Liverpool's chances if they are chasing Hughes, to suggest a direct connection between the two seems far fetched. Even taken at face value, though, given Hughes' age, talent, and purported Liverpool leanings, one imagines Rush's statement won't stop the rumours linking the player to Anfield picking up steam again as January approaches.

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