In-demand Chester FC defender Sam Hughes won’t be rushed in to deciding his next move.
The Blues defender is out of contract at Chester this summer and has been offered a new deal, but the 20-year-old is likely to head out of the exit door at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium with a host of Premier League and Football League clubs chasing his signature.
Crystal Palace, Swansea City, Burnley, Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley are all keen on the centre back, who became Chester’s youngest ever captain at the age of just 19 earlier in the season.
A tribunal could decide the fee for the Blues’ academy product, with Hughes valued at around £150,000.
But the West Kirby-born defender says he will take his time to assess his options and speak with his family before making any decisions over his future and didn’t rule out the possibility of staying with the club, although that seems highly unlikely given the level of interest.
“It’s been a bit of a mad season for me,” said Hughes, who was on the fringes of the first team at the start of the season.
“In pre-season I was getting 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there and going with some of the younger lads to places like Heswall and Marine. I was on the fringes of things but there were some injuries and I got my chance in defence and I never looked back.
“I’ve learned a lot this season and the players and the manager have been great with me. It’s been poor since the turn of the year but we have been playing with the bare bones and struggling to get by, but I’ve just tried to give my all in every single game for the club.
“I know there have been scouts there watching me, but that hasn’t added any pressure. I don’t think about stuff like that. There’s always scouts coming to games to watch various players and you can’t allow that type of thing to affect your game.”
And what of next season?
Premier League, Championship, League One and even an ambitious League Two clubs are all in the hunt for Hughes, seeing the potential that he has.
And while ambitious, Hughes knows that the next move has to be the right move for his career.
“Look, I don’t like talking about Chester in the past tense,” said Hughes, who made 36 National League appearances and scored three goals for the Blues this past season.
“I am still contracted to Chester, I am still a Chester player. This club has been good to me and who is to say that I won’t sign a new deal here and play my football here next season?
“There are clubs interested but I will go on holiday and have a bit of time to myself and try and relax and unwind a little bit. I think I need that after this season. I’ll be able to have a think about what is next and be able to make a decision when the time comes.
“But whatever happens this football club has been great for me. I’ve had the opportunity to grow and play football. To captain Chester against Tranmere was a massive moment for me, probably the proudest of my career. The club, the fans and everyone involved have been superb.”