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Derby County should avoid joining race for Man United player despite Wayne Rooney links: Opinion

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When Wayne Rooney was appointed Derby County manager, his links in the game and the draw of playing under him were likely key factors considered by the Rams hierarchy. 

Though we won’t know exactly who it will be until the takeover goes through, different figures will be making the decisions above Rooney in January and assuming the club is free from a transfer embargo, they’ll be counting on his pull to bring in the calibre of player that can help Derby fight for Championship survival.

With the winter transfer window now less than two months away, rumours are already beginning to circle and Phil Jones is one name that has already been linked with a move to Pride Park.

According to The Sun, the Rams are one of 13 clubs that are interested in the centre-back, who is now approaching full fitness after being sidelined for nearly two years.

Rooney is said to be a big admirer of his former England and Manchester United teammate, though with Premier League clubs – thought to be Watford and Newcastle United – seemingly keen as well it could be tough to persuade Jones to make the move to Pride Park.

It is understood Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will wait until after the congested Christmas period to make a decision over the 29-year-old’s future but even if the United boss sanctions a move and the player is keen, this is a transfer that the Rams should look to avoid.

Player departures and a transfer embargo meant that Rooney emerged from the chaotic summer of 2021 with a threadbare squad.

There’s no doubt that despite the impressive performances of Phil Jagielka and Curtis Davies this term, central defence is an area that Derby should look to improve but it’s hard to see Jones being the answer.

For one thing, it’s been nearly two years since he played at senior level meaning it will likely take some time for him to get back to full gear – if he can at all – and you’d imagine the Rams will need to turn things around fast if they’re to avoid relegation.

Then there’s the history of regular injuries that has derailed his United career and not forgetting his £130,000-per-week contract.

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You’d expect the Red Devils to pay a large proportion of that if he leaves on loan but even so, it’s hard to see a move for Jones being good value for money.

If they’re able to spend, the Rams will need to be shrewd in January because their thin squad needs a lot of reinforcement.

Jones may appear a big-name or blockbuster signing but the new Derby owners, whoever they are, need to avoid making the sort of mistakes that drove the old ownership into administration.

In my eyes, reuniting Rooney with his former United teammate would be just that.


London-based sports journalist at Snack Media EFL accredited, graduate of New Associates and the University of Brighton

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Derby County should avoid joining race for Man United player despite Wayne Rooney links: Opinion

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