The Sun journalist Tom Barclay believes that Will Hughes could become the eventual successor to James McArthur at Crystal Palace.
McArthur has picked up a hamstring injury and journalist Matt Woosnam has reported that the 34-year-old will miss around six weeks of action. It is a huge blow for Palace and McArthur who had featured in all of the Eagles’ Premier League matches prior to their 3-3 draw with Burnley.
In their most recent fixture, manager Patrick Vieira opted to play Luka Milivojevic and Cheikhou Kouyate as the two holding midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but Barclay can see Hughes becoming McArthur’s long-term successor.
What’s the latest news involving Will Hughes?
Crystal Palace signed Hughes from Watford during the summer transfer window for a fee reported to be £6m, which could possibly rise to £10m, with the 26-year-old putting pen-to-paper on a three-year deal.
Hughes – who Transfermarkt value at £6.3m – is yet to make an appearance for the Eagles so far this season.
But Vieira insisted before the 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa that the former Derby County prodigy will get chances this season.
He said: “He will have to get a chance. We have a squad where we have players who have not had their chance yet, but at the same time, they have to be ready for it. We will get to a time where the team needs them and they will have to perform.
“Will is one of them. I’m really happy with what he is showing me in training, and he is just waiting for his opportunity.”
What has Tom Barclay said about Will Hughes?
Whilst Hughes is yet to make his debut for the Eagles, Barclay believes that he can become the eventual successor to McArthur at Selhurst Park.
Barclay told GMS: “As I would see, he was signed as maybe the eventual successor to McArthur. He’s probably got the most similar style, albeit left footed. Not really a highlights player – doesn’t really score goals, doesn’t really assist much – but keeps it ticking, keeps it going.
“You’d think he might be the successor to McArthur, although I don’t know what he’s like in terms of influence and how vocal he is on the pitch.”
How does Will Hughes compare to James McArthur?
So far this term, McArthur has averaged 2.3 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 0.8 key passes match. For Watford in the Championship last season, meanwhile, Hughes returned 1.9 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 0.6 key passes each game.
Both of their passing percentages across these statistical periods have been upwards of 80%, although McArthur’s made considerably more passes per game than Hughes (51 compared to 39).
However, nine of Hughes’ 30 Championship appearances last season were from the bench, whereas McArthur had started eleven straight games for Palace before his injury.
Had Hughes featured from the start more often for Watford last term, it’s likely their performance metrics would be even more closely matched.