With the signing of Jack Marriott, Frank Lampard has ensured that Derby County will have a goal threat even if, as expected, Matej Vydra leaves the club.
This means he should turn his focus onto ensuring the service is there for his striker, by signing Bakary Sako. The winger turned down a new contract at Crystal Palace and is currently without a club. Given the constrained nature of Derby’s finances at present, a quality free signing should be the order of the day.
Sako has spent much of the past few seasons battling injury. Despite this, he has been a consistent performer for Crystal Palace in his three seasons at the club. His three goals of last season, including a winner against Burnley, came in spite of him making just four starts. His dribbling energy and pace made him a constant threat off the bench, as did his eagerness to shoot with 3.3 shots per 90 minutes.
For Derby, the sale of Andreas Weimann deprived them of one of their most energetic players. Sako offers this as well as greater footballing ability. The challenge for Lampard and the Derby recruitment team will be to convince Sako to make the step down from the Premier League. Sako is an ambitious player who wants to play at the highest level he can. The only way he would be convinced to switch would be if he believed Derby could achieve promotion in May. With Sako on board, this would be a distinct possibility.