After Frank Lampard’s departure last month, Phillip Cocu made his first signing as Derby County manager yesterday.
The Dutchman made this first move in the transfer market by signing Kieran Dowell on loan from Everton – an England U21 international who has played for several of the national youth teams over the past few years.
Although the attacking midfielder has played out on loan for a few Championship teams, Dowell’s only permanent professional club has been Everton. He’s been at the club since a young age and graduated through their youth system.
This signing could be the first of many for Derby County, who have lost important loanees. Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount have rejoined new Chelsea manager Lampard after their loans expired at Pride Park, whilst Harry Wilson has gone back to Liverpool.
The club have also released a number of experienced players including Craig Bryson, David Nugent, Marcus Olsson, Bradley Johnson and Ashley Cole.
Derby County will be hoping they can go one step further after their play-off final disappointment in May against Aston Villa.
With sides like Fulham and Huddersfield Town coming back to the Championship as well as Leeds United and West Brom gunning for promotion, Cocu has a lot of work to do.
Here’s three things that Kieran Dowell will bring to the Derby County side…
Creativity to the midfield
With the departures of both Harry Wilson and Mason Mount, one of Phillip Cocu’s first priorities was to address that creativity void. The signing of Kieran Dowell will go a long way to doing that.
A full season at a Championship club will give Dowell the chance to build on the five assists that he has already picked up in the Championship so far as a 21-year-old.
If Dowell can work well with the likes of Martyn Waghorn and Jack Marriott, it could turn out to be a very successful season at Derby County. The attacking midfielder could be a key part of that.
Although Dowell has played a lot of U23s football with Everton, the 21-year-old also has a respectable amount of Championship experience to his name.
His first spell came at Nottingham Forest in the 2017/18 season, where he was a popular figure at the City Ground. Dowell played very frequently that season, which showed how much faith the club had in the youngster.
Dowell was also shipped out on loan to Sheffield United in January this year for the remainder of the 2018/19 season. The attacking midfielder impressed fans as he helped the Blades secure promotion back to the Premier League.
The Sheffield side were also interested in re-signing Dowell for their first Premier League season before he made the move to Derby County.
The determination to succeed
Dowell is still a very highly rated player, with youth international caps to show that.
Even though Everton have Andre Gomes and Gylfi Sigurdsson rivalling Dowell for a central attacking midfield spot, he is seen as a long-term prospect at Goodison Park and the Toffees would be reluctant to let the England youth international leave permanently.
Kieran Dowell will be eager to show his parent club that he’s ready to make an impact on the first team at Everton, even if it’s just from the bench initially. This move could turn out to be a very good choice for the 21-year-old, who’s guaranteed to be a regular at Pride Park.