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 willing to let Tom Lawrence leave on a free transfer in January, according to Mail Online.
The Rams captain is out of contract in the summer while Bournemouth, Stoke City, Swansea City, and West Bromwich Albion are all said to be interested.
But are they right to let him leave? And where could he go?
Our FLW writers share their thoughts…
With their current financial predicament, Derby might not have a choice on whether to keep or let Tom Lawrence go. The Welshman’s contract only runs until the end of the season so, considering they have very little to play for in that time, it would be worth offloading him.
The stability of the club is still under a dark cloud and asset stripping in the short term might help the Rams cut their losses. Lawrence is definitely a player who should be competing in the top half of the Championship but needs to go somewhere that he will play regularly.
With Wales in the World Cup play-off draw, Lawrence will want to remain in Rob Page’s plans and he can only do that by playing regularly. Stoke feels like a decent fit, the Potters play exciting attacking football when onsong and have aspirations of finishing in the top six this season.
In Derby’s current situation, offloading him is a torturous requirement.
He might be a good player, but Derby are all but confirmed to be in League One next season and he’s unlikely to remain at the club past the summer anyway, so severing ties in January would probably be a good option if they can.
Giving him a reported £37,000/week contract in the Championship is shameful – and they could easily recruit four or five players for that figure combined – so it wouldn’t make any real sense to retain him with additions needing to be made during the winter.
Hopefully the Rams have a new owner in place by January to give them the opportunity to sign a few players and fill the void he will leave, with someone like Curtis Davies or Phil Jagielka able to take the captain’s armband from him and become the main leader in the dressing room.
In terms of where he could go, Stoke City doesn’t seem like the best fit with the Potters acting more sustainably in recent years and are unlikely to be able to negotiate a sensible wage package for him.
But it would definitely be possible to see him going to West Brom, even though Ismael probably requires another main forward before looking at the wing position.
The Frenchman’s rotation of his front men would give Lawrence a sufficient number of first-team opportunities to thrive.
Have Derby County ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?
It could be a sensible move for Derby to move Lawrence on in the January transfer window.
The winger’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and given the Rams look destined to be relegated to League One, it could be hard for them to convince to him to sign a new deal.
With Lawrence having struggled to really find any consistent form in the past couple of seasons, the club may feel that this is a departure they can afford to sanction on the pitch as well.
Considering the funds West Brom have available to them from their stint in the Premier League, they may have more to offer financially here, and with the Baggies targeting a return to the top-flight this season, that could make them an appealing destination for Lawrence as well, so it may not be a surprise from the teams linked, they win this transfer battle.