Millwall manager Gary Rowett says the club are in talks with left-back Scott Malone about making his loan move from Derby permanent.
Malone re-joined the Lions on a season-long loan back in the summer transfer window – having previously played for the club between 2012 and 2015 – and has scored five goals in 40 appearances in all competitions this season.
Now it seems as though Rowett is keen to ensure Malone’s return to The Den, last beyond the end of this season.
Providing an update on the situation surrounding the 30-year-old, Rowett told South London Press: “Scott is one that we’re still in discussion with. I’ve been quite consistent in that he is one we’d like to keep for longer.
“But no-one is ever really in a massive rush until the summer and until we start looking like we’re coming back for pre-season.”
Indeed, although Rowett admits he is not leading those discussions, it seems he is hopeful news of a deal could come rather quickly, as he added: “I’d hope for some sort of movement on that fairly soon.
“But those things I leave to Harvey [Bussell, head of recruitment] and Steve [Kavanagh, chief executive] to get sorted. I just prefer to focus on what is happening on the pitch.
“If a player would like to stay, fabulous. If a player doesn’t want to stay then we have got to get through the season as strong as we can and deal with it then.
“I always focus on the team and what is going on on the pitch and let other people do their jobs as well as they can, see if they can get one or two of those deals over the line.”
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Prior to his loan move to Millwall, Malone had made 56 appearances and scored three goals for Derby, having joined from Huddersfield in the summer of 2018.
As things stand, Malone’s contract with Derby is set to expire at the end of this season, meaning he is currently set to be a free agent this summer.
This does seem to be a smart move from Millwall to open these talks now.
Malone has been a regular feature for Gary Rowett’s side this season, so you imagine they would want to keep someone with his importance at the club if possible.
With Malone also set to become a free agent this summer, this is a deal that could be financially viable for Millwall, leaving funds available for them to strengthen other areas of their squad.
As a result, it does appear as though this could be a sensible signing for them, and it is makes sense for them to take steps towards securing that deal now, before any other clubs can hold talks with Malone at the end of this season.