Phillip Cocu has slowly but surely turned the fortunes of Derby County around this season, but what does the Dutchman have to do over the summer to ensure next season continues in the same vein?
Former Barcelona midfielder Cocu was faced with the tough task for re-building the Derby squad after Frank Lampard’s side lost out in the play-off final to Aston Villa last season.
Losing key players such as Harry Wilson and Mason Mount, Cocu was forced to hand every member of his squad a fresh start, and after a relatively trying first six months of the league campaign – the Dutch coach finally seems to be settled on who he can and cannot trust in his starting eleven.
Derby could now push for a late play-off place and that would be a massive statement from the Rams, but fail to and Cocu will have everything set for a good campaign next season.
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Whether it be Premier League or Championship football next season at Pride Park, we have taken a look at four potential transfer decisions that Cocu could be forced to make.
IN: A new proven goalscorer
When you look at the statistics of Derby players this season, you will be surprised to learn that both Chris Martin and Martyn Waghorn have scored over ten goals.
Both have had moderately good seasons, but they have been inconsistent for the large part and the latter has been forced to play in a wide role from time to time.
Jack Marriott, on the other hand, has been largely ineffective, and you have to feel that if Cocu was blessed with a proven goalscorer – then Derby’s season would have been a lot better.
Bringing in a frontman, who is proven at Championship level or higher – should be Cocu’s first port of call this summer.
IN: An established goalkeeper
Whilst Cocu will be looking to strengthen his attacking areas, he will also be keen to find a regular number one.
Kelle Roos had a good season under Frank Lampard last term, but his poor form at the start of this campaign saw him replaced by loan keeper Ben Hamer.
Being fairly unsettled in the number one spot is a problem, and Cocu must look to bring in a keeper who has experience, plus talent in order to move forward with his plans.
OUT: Jack Marriott to leave
Marriott has struggled. The former Peterborough man was expected to provide Cocu with a large number of goals this term, given his previous career statistics – but it simply has not worked for him at Pride Park this term.
Two goals in 29 appearances is poor from a frontman, and Derby’s need to find a goalscorer will undoubtedly see Marriott’s future at the club come questioned.
It is possible that if Marriott does leave, he would join a fellow Championship side – but Derby would seemingly be willing to allow that to happen, given his lack of goalscoring this term.
OUT: Dutch attacker to be sold
Florian Jozefzoon must have been rubbing his hands when he learnt that compatriot Cocu was coming into the club, but the winger has barely played for Derby this season.
Six starts and five appearances from the bench have seen him fail to make an impact, gaining one assist in the process – and it is highly likely that he will be made available when the summer transfer window opens.