By Wayne Veysey ¦ Chief Correspondent
Derby County have placed a £5million price tag on midfield sensation Will Hughes, Goal.comhas learned.
The Championship club are keen to fight off interest in the 17-year-old from the Premier League elite and hold on to him until at least next summer.
It is understood that Liverpool and Arsenal are showing the strongest interest in making bids for the creative midfielder, while he is also being closely tracked by Manchester City, Tottenham and Fulham.
There is a growing possibility that Hughes, who has been compared to a young Liam Brady by his manager Nigel Clough, could be sold in January to raise much-needed funds for the second-tier outfit.
Liverpool and Arsenal would both be keen on recruiting Hughes in the forthcoming window to give him time to integrate into their set-ups in the second half of the season.
Hughes became the second youngest player to represent the England Under-21s when he made his debut as a second-half substitute against Northern Ireland last month.
A product of Derby’s academy, Hughes has made great strides this season, starting 21 of the club’s 22 league matches and scoring two goals. In total, the youngster, who does not turn 18 until April, has 26 appearances under his belt.
Speaking earlier this month, Clough said: “I think a few of the big boys are watching him, which is a great compliment to him and the academy lads, but if they are we will do everything we can to hang on to him.”