Arsenal have been given transfer hope over their pursuit of teenager Will Hughes – but told they must pay ‘serious money’ to lure the player away from Derby County.
The young midfielder has impressed at Pride Park this season, with his form in the Championship leading to an England U21 call-up in midweek.
And, whilst Rams boss Nigel Clough is eager to keep hold of the player, he admits that a decent offer would be difficult for the club to turn down.
“If anybody wants him, they know it will be serious money,” he told The Derby Telegraph, according to talkSPORT.
"Nothing has changed. If an offer comes in for Will or any player, it will be judged on its merits. If we think it is good business and we can do something with it, then we will do it.
"When a 17-year-old looks to have the ability Will has, then it is bound to attract attention. It is inevitable. We don't mind that at all. It shows he is doing something right and it is great for our Academy.”
Clough did urge the teenager to consider sticking with Derby however, insisting his development would be better served in the first-team with the Midlands outfit.
"The best possible thing for him at the moment is to stay with us, get a season or two under his belt in the Championship and just keep learning and improving. Can we hang onto him? We hope we can,” added Clough.
Reports in The Daily Mirror earlier in the week claimed Arsenal must pay in the region of £4 million for the player – dubbed ‘the new Liam Brady’.
The paper also claimed that Gunners chief Arsene Wenger has received ‘glowing reports’ on the player from chief scout Steve Rowley.
Additional interest from top clubs is only going to push the player’s value up however, and the Arsenal boss will know that the teenager’s price could increase before the January transfer window, when he’s reportedly wanted at the Emirates Stadium.