A Perfect Will Hughes Replacement? Derby County Could Strike Gold With The Signing Of This 22-year Old Midfielder

John Swift

Why John Swift Effectively Replace Will Hughes At Derby

Derby manager Gary Rowett certainly seems to have some money to spend this summer, especially after the sales of Will Hughes and Tom Ince to Premier League clubs.

Hughes never quite hit the heights expected of him at Derby, though his move to Watford is seen as a step up at least in the short to medium term. He was a key member of this squad nonetheless and someone will need to step in to replace him for the upcoming Championship season.

Despite Reading’s own promotion ambitions, they are vulnerable to sides with money and have already lost Danny Williams to Premier League club Huddersfield Town. With that in mind, they really cannot afford to lose John Swift but I can’t help feeling that a big enough bid would turn their heads sufficiently.

Swift had a good grounding with Chelsea’s under-23 set-up and since joining Reading, he has flourished. His performances for England’s under-21’s have been outstanding and it appears as though he is at the same level as Hughes already, or at least has the potential to get beyond that level soon enough.

Here are a few key stat comparisons for the two midfielders from last year’s Championship campaign:

Tackles Interceptions Key Passes Pass Success Minutes Per Goal*
Hughes 2.7 1.0 1.1 83% 533
Swift 0.9 0.5 1.2 84% 238

*scored or assisted

The stats really show the difference in the areas of the pitch the respective players occupied last season. Despite both being described as central midfielders, Swift prefers to get forward much more than what Hughes did in his earlier career.

According to the stats, Derby would sacrifice some combative and defensive qualities in swapping Hughes for Swift but perhaps, more importantly, would gain so much more going forward.

As the years go by, thankfully, clubs are placing much more importance on bombing forward in this division and creating chances, than staying solid defensively. Derby have already swapped Cyrus Christie for Andre Wisdom at right-back and are clearly going for a much more attack-minded line-up next season.

As John Swift matures and improves, he could easily get 10-12 goals from a central midfield position which can prove invaluable when going for a title challenge and how can we put a true value on that? Even if Reading demand a huge fee for Swift, the money coming in from the sale of Hughes and Ince can surely be reinvested in worse ways than this.

Stats Courtesy: whoscored.com

Written by Gary Christie

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