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Rumour Mongering: 19-Year-Old English Star to Replace Steven Gerrard

He won’t be the biggest name linked to Liverpool as a Steven Gerrard replacement, but 19-year-old Derby star Will Hughes might just be the most likely given Liverpool’s history in the market.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Given Liverpool have been linked to Derby midfielder Will Hughes for going on three years, it can be a bit of a surprise to learn that the midfielder is still only 19 years of age. Part of that is also due to Hughes’ importance to Derby, a club he has made over 100 appearances for already in his young career, including 43 appearances so far this season in all competitions.

He’s young, he’s as comfortable raiding forward as he is taking on a more tactical, deeper screening role, and he’s on record as being a Liverpool fan. And, not entirely surprisingly, rumours linking him with a Liverpool move are once again heating up ahead of another summer transfer window, with a lengthy list of England’s tabloids over the past few days insisting he will finally be making his move to Anfield.

For some, the expectation has been Liverpool would seek out a big name replacement for Steven Gerrard, but given the buying pattern of the club under Brendan Rodgers and Fenway Sports Group, a young and English—but technically gifted and capable of contributing sooner than later—player like Hughes might make a lot more sense as a target than more veteran sorts plying their trade on the continent.

If Liverpool intend to keep Lucas Leiva around and are confident in signing Jordan Henderson to a new deal, and with Emre Can likely to move into midfield next year, another young player to give Rodgers four names for two of his midfield positions would, on paper at least, cover Gerrard’s departure. With Hughes already having had quite a lot of experience and seemingly ready for a step up, he could be the perfect fit.

Given it’s mostly tabloids making the link so far, whether Liverpool actually are—or still are—interested is perhaps another question, but even at the rumoured £15M he would cost, Hughes would be a solid buy. Given he’s English, that would hardly even seem a much inflated fee for a 19-year-old who’s played over 100 games and looks good enough to be in the rotation straight away for a Premier League side.

There will be a lot of big names linked by rumour mongers ahead of the summer as Steven Gerrard’s departure draws nearer. If one were a gambling man, though, the smart money might just be on the Hughes rumours being the ones most likely to come good. Certainly on paper it appears a perfect fit for all sides, particularly if Derby again just miss promotion.

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