THE BLOG

Derby Complete Biggest Deal of the Summer

04/07/2014 17:25 BST | Updated 03/09/2014 10:59 BST

Forget Luis Suarez's proposed £80m move to Barcelona, Derby have already clinched the deal of the summer by tying Will Hughes down to a new four-year contract.

At just 19 years of age, Hughes has been likened to legendary Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Scholes - not because he can't tackle - but because the boy can play.

Hughes is already a key player at Derby and has been linked with a move to the Premier League with the likes of Liverpool very keen on the bright-haired sensation. The teenager has the world at his feet and has no need to rush his development by moving to one of the top clubs in the country - look at what happened to Scott Sinclair at Manchester City, and what Wilfried Zaha is currently enduring at Manchester United.

There is no point in Hughes joining one of the big-hitters only to be loaned back down to the Championship. He may as well stay where he is at Derby, and that's precisely what the England Under-21 international is doing.

Hughes is destined for the top and will eventually outgrow Derby - manager Steve McClaren admitted that almost as soon as he replaced Nigel Clough last season - but his new contract will allow both him, and the team, to grow.

Derby can continue to build a team around Hughes without fear of the talented midfielder upping sticks (at least that's how it's designed to work). Had it not have been for late heartbreak against Queens Park Rangers in the play-off final at Wembley, Derby might have been a Premier League side. McClaren is taking the Rams in the right direction.

McClaren has worked tremendously hard in rebuilding his reputation after famously failing to qualify for Euro 2008 with the national side and the experience he has gained can only help Hughes. The former Middlesbrough boss admits that he took on the England job too early in his managerial career - while McClaren was strong enough to bounce back from such harsh criticism, would a 19-year-old?

It's far too easy to forget that behind the undoubted talent and astronomically high wage cheques that footballers are human beings. Hughes has only been eligible to vote for a year, a failed move on a big stage in full view of the nation could have damaged his career beyond repair, especially with the kind of transfer fees that even the most remotely promising Englishman moves for in today's climate.

Hughes will continue to flourish at Derby. It may be no Anfield or Old Trafford, but Pride Park (or the iPro Stadium) is by far and away the best place for one of England's best young players.

The standard in the Championship is not too distant from that in the Premier League, and who knows? If Derby can take full advantage of having a player of Hughes' calibre to call upon for the next few years, the youngster may even get his opportunity to shine at the top level before he does eventually depart.