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Former Watford midfielder Will Hughes is viewed as a long-term replacement for Premier League veteran James McArthur at Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace, as reported by The Athletic. 

Then again, after McArthur twanged his hamstring earlier in November, the Scot’s ‘long-term replacement’ may have to prove his worth as a short-term successor. 

One of the most underrated footballers in the Premier League, McArthur is the glue that holds this Crystal Palace side together.

It’s no coincidence that, following clean sheets against Wolves and Manchester City, Palace conceded three goals in Saturday’s topsy-turvy Burnley clash without evergreen 33-year-old to hold the fort.

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Whoever steps in to replace McArthur, then, will be under pressure to emulate the midfielder’s hard-running, all-action style, his effectiveness on and off the ball. 

Whether Hughes is given the chance to do just that remains to be seen.

Hughes, a £6 million summer signing from newly-promoted Watford, has not played a single minute in Crystal Palace colours thus far.

That could change sooner rather than later, however, with a hectic festive fixture schedule looming on the horizon.  

McArthur, meanwhile, is expected to be out of action for the next six weeks at least.

Is Will Hughes set to make his Crystal Palace debut?

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Hughes, who was also linked with Aston Villa and Newcastle United, was brought to Selhurst Park as someone capable of providing competition and cover rather than someone capable of stepping straight into the starting XI (Athletic). 

But, as they say, one man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity.

Hughes was left on the bench against Burnley.

Cheikhou Kouyate struggled to step into a McArthur-shaped void in the Crystal Palace midfield at Turf Moor, however. And it will be interesting to see if Vieira opts for a more technical option when Aston Villa travel to Selhurst Park next weekend. 

The former Nice boss did suggest, however, that it could be Jeffrey Schlupp, rather than Hughes, who is given the opportunity to step into McArthur’s shoes next time out. 

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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