Arsenal, Man U, Liverpool set for Will Hughes Derby auction
Steve McClaren will sell to highest bidder, as Swansea put Michu price tag up to £30m
NEW Derby County gaffer Steve McClaren has admitted he'll probably have to jettison teenage sensation Will Hughes in January, an admission that is sure to prompt a mad scramble among the Premier League big guns.
According to the Daily Express McClaren, who replaced Nigel Clough in the Rams' hot seat last week, knows that the 18-year-old Hughes "is one of the hottest talents in English football" this season. The Midlands midfielder was in magical form at the weekend, netting once in Derby's 3-1 home victory over Leeds United, and it's form like that which has caught the eye of Arsenal, Liverpool and the two Manchester clubs.
The Express says that the Premier League clubs will make their interest official in January with big money offers for the teenager and McClaren is resigned to selling him to the highest bidder. "What we need behind that is players coming through to replace him," McClaren is quoted as saying, adding they he'll use the money made from Hughes "to improve the team and the squad".
Another player who gets managerial pulses racing is Swansea striker Michu, whose stellar form over the last year has earned him a call-up to the Spanish squad. That in turn has given Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins the opportunity to warn off his suitors by adding another few million to the asking price, according to the Daily Mail.
Michu may have only cost the Swans £2.2m in the summer of 2012, but if the likes of Arsenal or Liverpool want to get their hands on him any time soon they will have to fork out at least £30m.
Meanwhile the Daily Star says that Arsenal are one of three Premier League clubs being kept waiting by German side Schalke, who are not quite as keen as Derby to sell their best player.
Along with Chelsea and Manchester City, the Gunners are gagging to get their mitts on Julian Draxler but it seems they'll have to wait until next summer. Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has ruled out selling the 20-year-old playmaker in January, telling German sports magazine Kicker: "Julian Draxler will be at our club this season, that is for sure. There will be no fuss regarding him during the January window as he is committed to our club."
The Star says that Draxler, who scored 13 times last season, has four years left on his current contract that comes with a £40m buy-out clause.
Arsene Wenger may face less competition in the fight to land Feyenoord defender Bruno Martins Indi in January, although the Everton are also keen on the Dutch international and the Daily Mail suggests that there could be an offer of around £8m from the Toffees come January.
But are Chelsea willing to play the waiting game when it comes to their other targets? Not if the Evening Standard is to be believed. It reports that the Blues are haring after Marseille midfielder Gianelli Imbula and hope to have him on board in the New Year.
Guy Hillion, one of the club's most senior scouts, said that the France Under-21 international is being stalked by boss Jose Mourinho and a £25m offer could be on its way. "I have seen [Imbula] often," says Hillion. "As soon as he gets the ball he is able to accelerate and break through the lines. He covers well, has good technique, great vision of the game, with a very good quality pass and a great left foot."
Imbula joined Marseille in the summer from second division side Guingamp and the Standard says the 21-year-old defensive midfielder has earned comparisons in France with former Chelsea rock Claude Makelele.
Finally, Arsenal's six-minute sensation Park Chu-Young is in line for a loan move to Wigan according to the Daily Mirror. The paper says that the South Korean forward, who has played just six minutes of Premier League football since arriving at the Emirates in August 2011, "fancies a fresh start". Or maybe just even a few more minutes. Wigan boss Owen Coyle has a striking crisis after injuries to Grant Holt and Marc-Antoine Fortune, and the 28-year-old Chu-Young is poised to answer what the Mirror describes as an SOS call from the Latics. ·