Chester’s in-demand defender Sam Hughes has completed a move to Premier League club Leicester City for an disclosed fee.
Hughes will spend time working with the Foxes Development squad after the move was confirmed by the Vanarama National League club on Friday afternoon.
The move ends months of speculation on Hughes’ future, with a number of Premier League and Football League clubs rumoured to be showing an interest in the twenty year old.
Top flight clubs Swansea and Crystal Palace were said to be interested in signing the young defender, whilst Championship trio Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday and Wolves were also keen.
On Thursday evening Chester released a statement to deny speculation that a deal had been completed, but less than twenty four hours later they confirmed via Twitter that Hughes had moved to the King Power Stadium.
Over the last two seasons he has made over sixty appearances for the Blues and captained the side on a number of occasions last season, becoming the youngest player to captain Chester in their history.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Chester CEO Mark Maguire said “This is a hugely significant day for Chester Football Club and the importance of it shouldn’t be missed. The club was reformed in 2010 and subsequently took the decision to establish an academy.
“Just seven years later, due to the hard work of people like Calum McIntyre and his staff, the likes of Brian Burns and Mike Day and the support of people like Ian Swettenham – the academy has produced a player who has thrived under the management of Jon McCarthy and proved good enough to be transferred to the 2015/16 Premier League Champions.
“Most importantly, this demonstrates to all of our academy players and potential recruits that there is a very real pathway at Chester FC where the quality of the environment will see careers thrive and dreams fulfilled.
“I’d like to thank Leicester City for the courtesy and professionalism they have shown to us during this process, and also to pay tribute to Sam Hughes who has been a credit to the club and his family especially in remaining utterly focussed when we turned down interest from Championship clubs for him in January.
“Of course, we all wish him the best of luck with what we are sure will be a fantastic career ahead of him – he will always be welcome back. Finally the board should take credit for making the brave decision to back me in January in turning down offers which would have been very easy to accept, but in staying strong we have achieved a great move for all parties concerned.
“I’d now encourage people to get themselves down to the stadium next season and look out for the next crop of youngsters on their journey to the top of the game – with the likes of Matty Waters, Nathan Brown, James Jones and Tom Crawford – these are exciting and very proud times for Chester Football Club.”
The signing of Hughes, who can play at centre back or right back, is the second non-league signing that the former Premier League champions have made in recent months.
In April they signed forward Josh Gordon from Evo-Stik Northern Premier League club Stafford Rangers.
Hughes has signed a three-year deal with the Foxes and will officially move to the club on 1st July.
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Image: Chester FC