The Manchester Evening News says Barcelona studied Hughes at close quarters and compiled an in-depth dossier on him when he played for England Under-17s in the Algarve tournament in February 2012.
New Rams boss Steve McClaren's Old Trafford connection from his days as Fergie's No.2 might help grease the wheels. And the Reds' current assistant Steve Round goes back a long way with McClaren.
The pair were Derby team-mates and Round was on McClaren's coaching staff at both Middlesbrough and England.
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