After being hampered by their transfer embargo in the past few months, Derby County are yet to make a senior signing going into next season.
The Rams were very poor at times in the last year though – and need fresh faces to come in – both to replace departing players and level up their squad to avoid another relegation scrap next season.
However, there is still a month-and-a-half to go in the window for Wayne Rooney’s side to make their move in the transfer market and bring in the players required to re-establish their status as a steady Championship side.
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Many of their recruitment team’s previous top targets are already likely to have been poached after their slow start to the summer – but there are still plenty of deals to be done in the loan and free agents market.
This is something that should provide Derby fans with some much-needed optimism.
With this, we have a look at two free agents the second-tier side should have on their shortlist at Pride Park with the new season not too far away.
After seeing Martyn Waghorn leave the club for free this summer and join League One outfit Ipswich Town, 34-year-old Colin Kazim-Richards needs competition for his starting spot, or even a partner up top if Wayne Rooney opts to start with two strikers.
Although former Cambridge United striker Paul Mullin is linked with a move to Charlton Athletic, the 26-year-old could be tempted by a move to the Championship and may even get more game time at Pride Park.
Addicks boss Nigel Adkins already has Conor Washington and new striker Jayden Stockley to choose from after Chuks Aneke’s departure – and in stark contrast – the Rams are severely lacking in depth.
Mullin scored an exceptional 32 goals in the fourth tier of English football last season, guiding Cambridge to automatic promotion but decided to leave the club this summer on the expiry of his contract.
As a former League Two player, a reasonably cheap wage package should be able to be agreed within the EFL’s strict embargo rules and could end up being a coup if he bags even half the goals he managed to last term.
Signing an individual who scored just four less than the whole Derby squad last season should be a no-brainer.
Although the Rams already have captain Tom Lawrence and Kamil Jozwiak as options, Florian Jozefzoon and Jordan Ibe’s departures could tempt Rooney to search for another wide man in the next couple of months.
28-year-old winger Kadeem Harris was released by Sheffield Wednesday following their relegation from the second tier – but could be a solid Championship option for many sides.
With the East Midlands side coming close to the drop last year, these solid options are exactly what they need and could benefit from someone like Harris who has previous second-tier experience at Cardiff City and Wednesday.
Without this width, they could look toothless and one-dimensional going forward again next term.
Considering their shoddy attack nearly cost them their Championship status last season, they cannot afford to be lacking attacking firepower in the 2021/22 campaign either.