CHESTER defender Sam Hughes has landed a dream move to the Premier League after joining Leicester City for an undisclosed fee.
The highly-rated 20-year-old is believed to have signed a three-year deal with the Foxes, with the fee understood to be in the region of £120,000.
Hughes, who hails from West Kirby, made 39 appearances for the Blues last season, scoring three times, and was named as the club’s youngest ever captain in the 3-2 defeat against Tranmere Rovers in March.
The academy graduate was subject to interest from a host of Championship clubs and Barnsley had a £70,000 bid for the youngster rejected in January.
Blues' CEO Mark Maguire has stood firm over Hughes, and his confidence that Chester could earn a six-figure fee for the versatile player has been vindicated, with a number of clauses and appearance fees also understood to be included in the deal.
CEO 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.”
Meanwhile, Chester's club captain Luke George has left the club and signed for Hartlepool United, where he will link up with former TNS boss Craig Harrison.
See full story in the Chester Leader