Watford feel they will have no choice but to sell Newcastle United and Aston Villa target Will Hughes if the midfielder refuses to sign a new contract, per the Watford Observer.

The Hornets have been speaking with Hughes over a new deal at Vicarage Road since the end of last season. But the 26-year-old, who is a free agent in 2022, is yet to agree on new terms with the returning Premier League side.

Newcastle and Aston Villa have informed Watford of their interest in Hughes if he is to leave Hertfordshire this summer. The Magpies’ approach has so far stayed at a preliminary level, however, as they await further updates on his situation.

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The Watford Observer quoted Hughes in May stating that he has “no thoughts in my head” about moving elsewhere. But the Hornets feel they will have to cash in, should the £30,000-per-week midfielder refuse their offer of a new contract.

Steve Bruce is keeping a close eye on the situation at Vicarage Road as he seeks new engine room options. The Sun noted earlier in the week that the Newcastle boss was in talks to sign Hughes from Watford.

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Bruce hopes to convince the ex-England youth international to move to the North East and is prepared to pay £12m. Hughes caught Newcastle’s attention with his performances in the Championship last term, scoring twice in 30 games after an injury-ravished start to the year.

Watford offer Newcastle and Aston Villa hope of Hughes transfer

Watford have offered Newcastle and Aston Villa hope for signing Hughes this summer after accepting they will have to sell if he refuses to sign a new contract. Bruce and his successor at Villa Park, Dean Smith, will certainly take the update as a boost to their pursuits.

Bruce’s expected offer of £12m should also go down well at Vicarage Road if they elect to cash in. Watford would guarantee themselves a profit on the £5m rising to £9m with add-ons they paid Derby County in 2017. And that’s after a 15% sell-on fee they’d owe the Rams.

Meanwhile, Bruce or Smith can acquire a midfielder who can deliver hard-working displays from a deep-lying position against the best. Ex-Hornets manager Nigel Person hailed Hughes for a ‘brilliant’ performance against Manchester United in 2019, via the Watford Observer.