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…
Free-agent forward Sam Baldock has been training with Derby County, according to footage posted on the club’s Twitter page.
The Rams are currently hamstrung by a transfer embargo but are allowed to sign free transfers to bolster Wayne Rooney’s squad.
Baldock, who left Reading earlier this summer, appears to be someone they’re running the rule over.
So, would he be a good signing for the Rams? And do they need him?
We quizzed our FLW writers…
Whatever you do, do not play Sam Baldock up front on his own. He can’t do anything when he’s isolated.
The 32-year-old plays well when he can link up with another striker – and really showcased what he could do in the early stages of his Reading career when he started up front with Marc McNulty in a cup tie for the Royals.
Unfortunately, he didn’t really get the chance to impress at the Madejski Stadium with Lucas Joao and George Puscas ahead of him in the pecking order – but you can’t fault his commitment.
He will run through a brick wall for his team but how useful he will be at Pride Park will depend on how Wayne Rooney utilises him.
Once again, you just cannot play him on his own. So if Rooney wants to operate with just one up top and wishes to persist with it, signing Sam Baldock would be a waste of the limited resources they currently have in the East Midlands.
But if he can link up with another striker and a sensible wage package can be negotiated, this could be a solid signing for Derby, if not spectacular.
This could be a shrewd signing for Derby County.
Sam Baldock is a player who has had a difficult few seasons with Reading after scoring just 11 goals in 74 appearances for the club.
A total of 20 league appearances last term showed that the 32-year-old was falling down the pecking order but I still think that he has something to offer the Championship.
He’s not a player who will get into double-digits for goals scored, but if he can bring leadership and a presence in attack then he could turn out to be a wise addition.
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It’s very clear to me that Derby are going to be forced into scraping the barrel a bit to bring in new players this summer.
Don’t get me wrong, Baldock isn’t the worst striker that they could get in but you sort of feel that his best years are behind him now.
He’s 32 now and didn’t score at all for Reading last season prior to his release – that’s hardly a record that will make people excited.
Ultimately the Rams will have their business determined by their current financial situation and as a result of that, Rooney may well have to settle for second-rate signings.
They certainly need a striker but I do feel they could do a lot better than Baldock.