It’s fair to say that the 2015/16 campaign hasn’t exactly gone swimmingly for Derby County in the Championship thus far.
For one reason or another, Paul Clement’s new side have produced a rather mixed bag of results across the early stages of the season, with that all important goal of promotion still quite some way off with all things considered.
That’s not to say a return to the English top-flight is completely out of the picture for the Rams however, just somewhat hard to imagine going on the team’s current form alone. We all witnessed a Derby side that should have secured safe passage to the Premier League via the play-offs back in 2013/14 – yet as football often proves both cruel and enticing in equal measure – such a dreamlike outcome obviously failed to take place in the end.
Nevertheless, in light of the partially faded potential still currently circulating within Paul Clement’s ranks at the moment, here are six potential new targets Derby County should possibly cast their eye over throughout the January transfer window…
Despite there being a clear lack of recognised striking options on offer at Old Trafford at the minute – with both Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez departing Manchester United over the course of the summer – 19-year-old Red Devils striker, James Wilson, has seemingly been told he can leave the club on loan this season, with the Championship proving his most likely destination.
Although the likes of Tom Ince and Andreas Weimann have both been drafted in at Pride Park this term to sure up Derby’s attacking options for 2015/16, adding one more new face in the shape of James Wilson surely wouldn’t do the Rams any harm, would it?
The youngster has already impressed, albeit briefly, when previously handed the odd cameo role at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal, yet as a club such as Derby County would likely offer the up and coming striker many more opportunities within their first team set-up, James Wilson could eventually prove a worthwhile low cost option for Paul Clement’s side this season.
If the loan signing of Manchester United’s James Wilson fails to take place for the Rams this campaign however, other striking options nonetheless remain readily open. One particular name doing the rounds at the moment is West Brom’s Nigerian front-man, Victor Anichebe – a player who has incidentally been linked with Derby County in the past.
Whilst the 27-year-old has never quite set the Premier League alight during his time among the English top-flight, Anichebe could still certainly do an efficient job for any side looking to acquire his services in the Championship this season, there’s not much doubt about that.
The big man is a traditional centre-forward who simply doesn’t get bullied among the opposition’s back-line. His technical ability may admittedly be lacking, but via his sheer strength and powerful stature alone, West Brom’s somewhat forgotten striker may well offer something of value to Derby County across 2015/16 – should he be handed that all important opportunity by Paul Clement.
Ok, although it may seem a tad silly to include a recently retired player on a list of potential January transfer targets for Derby County to consider this winter, stranger things have certainly happened within the Beautiful Game.
The former German international took the somewhat controversial decision to retire at the age of 29-years-old recently, claiming that he couldn’t play for any other club apart from his beloved Hamburger SV. However, as we have all seen dramatic U-turns in football time and time again throughout the years, perhaps Paul Clement could be on the end of a very shrewd move if he manages to tempt the smooth ball playing midfielder/defender, that is Marcell Jansen, out of retirement one last time.
Yes, it still ultimately seems very unlikely that the ex-Bundesliga regular would consider a jump down to the Championship at this seemingly final stage in his footballing career – but you never know – Derby are a team that could well be operating in the Premier League next season with a few slices of good fortune on board, so maybe Jansen could be persuaded after all…
A much more likely name to potentially be making his way to Pride Park this January arrives in the form of Sunderland’s midfield battler, Liam Bridcutt. The current Black Cats bench-warmer has hardly managed to establish himself at the Stadium of Light since first joining the club in 2014, so perhaps a move elsewhere is now inevitable for the determined 26-year-old.
In impressing somewhat whilst operating with Brighton & Hove Albion in the Championship, Bridcutt is a player could well bring a fair amount of experience to the table should Paul Clement eventually make a move for the Scotland international across the January transfer window. He could also turn out to be a fairly versatile player if required, and could even do a relatively decent job at full-back should his respective manager see fit this term.
His overall skillset isn’t quite equipped for dealing with the week-to-week tests of Premier League football by most accounts, yet the current Sunderland man nevertheless represents a player with a decent passing range and a fairly successful ability to hold onto possession that would surely fit in well with the current blueprint trying to be established at Pride Park at the minute.
Although the Welsh international has become somewhat of a fan favourite down at Selhurst Park in recent seasons, Crystal Palace’s Joe Ledley nonetheless highlights another Premier League midfielder who was linked with a move to Derby County this summer.
The player himself may currently be enjoying his time in the Premier League with Alan Pardew’s Eagles, but that doesn’t mean the Rams shouldn’t at least attempt a cheeky bid for the Welshman by the time the January transfer window finally arrives. If Ledley doesn’t receive enough game time at Selhurst Park between now and then, this move could well be on the cards.
However, the 28-year-old has in-fact impressed, albeit rather subtly, since first establishing himself within the first team set-up at Palace – so if he does eventually decide to leave the club this January – a whole host of other teams are likely to raise an interest in the midfielder one way or another.
One name likely to excite some sections of the Pride Park faithful this season is Blackburn Rovers front-man and Scotland international, Jordan Rhodes. Yes, he could well cost a fair amount in today’s market – and his current employers surely won’t be keen on letting him leave their club any time soon – but the in-form striker could easily work wonders at Derby County next season should the Rams finally make their move.
Whilst interest in the 25-year-old may have admittedly cooled off somewhat from a Rams perspective since the closure of the summer transfer window, perhaps securing a goal-scorer like Rhodes could ultimately prove the difference between achieving promotion to the Premier League next term, or simply experiencing just another forgetful season languishing in the Championship.
Either way, the current Blackburn Rovers forward has never been one to stray far away from transfer head-lines throughout his career – so at this stage in the proceedings – it seemingly remains tough to guess where Jordan Rhodes will eventually end up in the not too distant future.