This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more.
Derby County are weighing up a move for experienced defender Richard Stearman following his Huddersfield Town release, as reported by Alan Nixon on Twitter.
The 33-year-old made 14 starts during the 2020/21 Championship campaign, with the vast majority of those coming in the early stages.
Stearman, who has racked up over 400 appearances in England’s top two tiers, joined The Terriers in January 2020 and emerged as a regular starter in as they narrowly escaped relegation.
Derby find themselves in a rather difficult situation in regard to player availability ahead of the new season. Curtis Davies, who is actually out of contract, was the only central defender who reported back for training last week.
Would the 33-year-old be a good signing for Derby though? We asked the FLW team for their opinion on the story.
It’s not a secret that Derby are absolutely desperate for summer signings now, and high on their list of priorities needs to be sourcing some senior centre-backs.
Stearman has had his injury troubles over the course of the last 12 months, but he’s still had a decent impact with Huddersfield last season.
Prior to picking up an injury against Middlesbrough, he was very good, playing progressive football under Carlos Corberan, whose side looked sharp pre-Christmas.
He was then unlucky to return and find a certain Richard Keogh playing regularly alongside Naby Sarr ahead of him.
There was enough from Stearman to suggest he’s still got plenty to give in the Championship, though.
His experience at the back could be crucial for Wayne Rooney next season, particularly if Derby are forced to turn to a youthful partner in the heart of defence.
Derby are in a tough moment right now and any bit of positive news needs to be underlined.
Trying to get this done offers that positivity.
This is a signing which won’t excite Derby fans by any stretch of the imagination, but it could actually be a shrewd signing.
Stearman is obviously a really experienced figure and good to have in the dressing room, having played over 350 times in the Championship and over 70 times in the Premier League.
He may now be 33, but Derby’s current situation means they aren’t really going to attract the most attractive names this summer, and they are just going to have make the best out of a bad situation.
Stearman is a leader at the back, and with Matt Clarke returning to parent club Brighton and Hove Albion, there is scope for a new, commanding centre-half to come in.
He’s available to sign on a free, and maybe on a one-year deal, it’s worth a punt.
After being released by Huddersfield Town in the summer, this would be a cheap signing for Wayne Rooney to wrap up if he can persuade Stearman to come to Pride Park.
However, it will only be a short-term solution with the defender turning 34 next month and if the Rams had the funds and freedom to do more, they would realistically not be targeting the former Huddersfield man.
He only made 21 appearances for the struggling Terriers last season and there are questions over how much he would appear if he moved to the East Midlands.
But how they intend to utilise him will determine how valuable this potential deal could be. If he’s there to be a regular starter, he probably isn’t the best man to target but if Stearman’s there to be an experienced head in the dressing room, it could pay dividends if the Rams go through more difficult times next season.
Derby are currently operating under transfer restrictions though, so they might not have the room to fit him in, and they may go on to target alternative defenders if they are free from restrictions and have the funds to do so later in the window.