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Watford ‘demote’ Will Hughes to under 23s as contract talks reach breaking point

Watford ‘demote’ Will Hughes to under 23s as contract talks reach breaking point

Hughes absent in Arsenal friendly

Will Hughes was not present in the 4-1 loss to Arsenal in a behind closed doors friendly today.

Watford were heavily beaten despite playing many first-team regulars such as Ismaili Sarr and Josh King.

Arsenal themselves featured plenty of first-teamers but took the lead through fringe striker Eddie Nketiah.

A defensive error from Mohamed Elneny allowed Philip Zinckernagel to equalise.

However, second half goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Kieran Tierney and Miguel Azeez put an end to any hope for the Hornets.

There looked a slight weakness in midfield and a failure to transition the ball well to the forwards, something Hughes certainly could have helped with.

Why Hughes was absent

It has been revealed by The Athletic that Will Hughes has been demoted to the under 23 squad due to difficulties agreeing a new deal.

Hughes was a key part of the Watford side that earned promotion from the Championship.

Having played little in the first half of the season, he was key to the second phase push for the automatic places.

Of the 30 games he was involved in, Watford won 20 of them.

Now though, the club have decided to take drastic action to try and effectively force Hughes to budge in the stalling contract talks.

The Watford hierarchy are understood to be disappointed that the offer of a significant pay rise and a desire for Hughes to be a central component in the Premier League have thus far not been enough to find a resolution.

Watford have reinforced with Imran Louza and Peter Etebo coming in should Hughes leave but will feature even if he now stays.

Read more:

Tottenham’s new sporting director Fabio Paratici heavily praised for transfer work ahead of busy summer

Arsenal beat Millwall 4-1 in behind closed doors friendly, Pepe & Balogun amongst the goals

This article was edited by Ben Browning.

Watford betting odds, next game:

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Leeds vs Watford Result/Both teams score Yes No
Leeds 11/5 21/10
Watford 13/2
Draw 4/1 14/1
Leeds vs Watford Correct Score

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4 Brighton & Hove Albion 5 3 12
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Player Team Goals
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 5
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 5
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Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 4
Benrahma, Said West Ham United 3
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 3
Lukaku, Romelu Chelsea FC 3
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 3
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 3
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 3
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 3
Raphinha Leeds United 3
Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 3
Doucoure, Abdoulaye Everton FC 2
Saint-Maximin, Allan Newcastle United 2
Jesus, Gabriel Manchester City 2
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