Aston Villa are interested in signing Will Hughes from Premier League rivals Watford during the summer transfer window, as reported by The Athletic.
Just days into June, Villa have already raided one top-flight newcomer for a key midfielder.
Whether Hughes will join the former Norwich City talisman at Bodymoor Heath next term… well, it’s safe to assume Dean Smith and co have a fight on their hands.
Can Will Hughes join Emi Buendia at Aston Villa?
Watford are understandably keen to tie down a player who will be a free-agent next summer, especially given that Hughes produced some of the finest performances of his Watford career under Xisco Munoz in the second half of 2020/21.
The one-time Derby County wonderkid has also expressed his desire to stay at Vicarage Road, with the Hornets entering talks over a new five-year deal.
Aston Villa, then, appear to be up against it in their pursuit of a man who has developed into an all-round midfield general at Hertfordshire.
Hughes joined Watford in 2017 for a fee in the region of £8 million (Guardian).
His reputation has only grown since then but, unless the club can agree a new, long-term deal, they may have to listen to offers of a similar amount if Aston Villa come calling.
The 26-year-old, a former England U21 international, would probably slot into one of the three central midfield roles in Smith’s favoured 4-3-2-1 system, though it remains to be seen what his arrival would mean for the already out-of-favour Morgan Sanson.