Derby County Transfers Secure Impressive Signings but Seek Balance

derby county transfers

Several experienced players have signed up to the Rams cause following administration, but does experience translate to League One success? Derby are working towards a balanced squad and still need to add depth.

Derby County Transfers Hit the Mark but More Balance Needed

David McGoldrick Among Experienced Signings

Derby exited administration on July 1 and immediately began to rebuild the playing squad. Following relegation, they had been left with only five senior players under contract and, during the saga of administration, manager Wayne Rooney left the club, as did the head of recruitment Joe McClaren.

This left a need for direction with regard to recruitment which has been spearheaded by interim manager Liam Rosenior. He moved quickly to secure a number of free agents: James Chester, Conor Hourihane and David McGoldrick, three fine additions to any Championship squad and representing fantastic business in League One.

Tom Barkhuizen, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Korey Smith and James Collins also bring experience as well as quality.

Derby County Fans Pleased With Quality but Depth Needed

It could be argued that the career trajectory of a number of the signings shows parallels to the Morris-era recruitment. That period saw many players from the Premier League join Derby in the twilight of their careers.

Quality may make up for age, but there is a lack of game time in recent seasons to consider. Derby have signed nine outfield players so far; the most league starts any managed last season was 21. Success in League One has historically been attained as much by consistency as by quality.

In addition to the league pressures, there are also Papa John’s Trophy matches, meaning they could potentially play over sixty games. This is something Rosenior will have to consider during the remainder of the window.

Template for the Rams Rebuild

The last time Derby had a squad overhaul on such a scale was following the infamous 2007/08 Premier League campaign which made history for the wrong reasons. Following a disastrous spell under Paul Jewell, the rebuild task fell to Nigel Clough. He assembled squads each season using mostly unknown players on low wages and loan signings while avoiding relegation.

It is only now becoming fully appreciated what an impressive job he accomplished – the 2013/14 squad that reached the play-off final contained players such as Jake Buxton, Craig Forsyth, Craig Bryson and Johnny Russell. These were all picked from obscurity by Clough, as well as academy products such as Jeff Hendrick and Will Hughes.

The Clough rebuild proved that while quality will obviously win you matches – character can have a far greater impact. This is something that needs to be seen in the signings for the current rebuild.

The Task at Hand

Fans of the former clubs of Chester, Hourihane, McGoldrick and Smith unanimously agree that these are model professionals. To add these to a squad that already contains characters such as Curtis Davies, Richard Stearman and Craig Forsyth would set a tone of utmost professionalism for the young players who have made the step up from the Derby academy in recent years.

This shows there is no issue with attitude; however, there will need to be further additions to help blend youth and experience. Last season there were only three players at the club between the age of 24 and 30. In addition to the need for energy on the pitch, it will be important for the future beyond just this season to sign some players in the peak years of their careers.

There are rumours swirling of who these further signings may be. These additions are thought to be drawing closer following the departure of Krystian Bielik on loan to Birmingham, clearing some of his wages off the bill. This leaves space in the budget for more new faces to aid in the Rams’ rebuild.