Liverpool to go head-to-head with Manchester United over player?

Derby County

The Premier League pair face a transfer tug-o-war for a Derby County man.

Liverpool are facing stiff competition in their attempts to sign the highly-rated youngster Will Hughes, with Manchester United also rumoured to be keen on landing the Derby County star. Brendan Rodgers had hoped that the opportunity to play at Anfield week-in, week-out alongside English football icons like Steven Gerrard would be enough to tempt the player into a move.

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However, Manchester United are likely to be the player’s first choice destination, given the opportunities available to win silverware and compete in the Champions League with the Old Trafford club.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Red Devils boss David Moyes is keen to bring Hughes to Manchester in January as he continues to reshape the United squad to one more in keeping with his brand of football.

But Liverpool are unlikely to give up without a fight and may use the examples of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, who have both enjoyed extended runs in the Reds’ first team after finding chances limited with their previous clubs, to convince Hughes to switch to Anfield.

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Manchester United have delved into the lower levels of English football twice in recent years, with the jury still out on whether either player will prove to be a success. In the first instance, Alex Ferguson purchased Crewe Alexandra attacking midfielder Nick Powell for £6m last summer, with the 19-year-old currently on loan at Wigan, after making just two first team appearances for United.

More recently still, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha moved to the club, with the 20-year-old making just one first team appearance since his summer arrival.

Meanwhile, Arsenal and Manchester City are believed to be continuing to monitor the progress of the player, who has been the one shining light in an otherwise drab couple of years at Derby.

Last month the club sacked manager Nigel Clough, with Steve McClaren stepping into the hot-seat. Whether the presence of Manchester United’s former assistant manager sways it in the Red Devils favour remains to be seen, but a bid for Hughes from both sides looks imminent.

image: © eamoncurry

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