It’s fair to say that it’s not quite been the season that Derby County would have originally hoped for this term.
The Rams finished tenth in the Championship table in the 2019/20 season, and would have been hoping that they could mount a serious challenge for promotion into the Premier League in the following campaign.
But for one reason or another, something just hasn’t clicked, as Derby currently sit 22nd in the second-tier standings after their opening 20 matches of the season.
Phillip Cocu was relieved of his duties in charge of the Rams back in November, and his permanent successor is yet to be appointed as we head into the New Year.
The Rams have been reliant on a number of younger players this season, which could be one of the reasons as to why they have struggled in this year’s campaign.
It’s set to be an interesting January transfer window ahead as well, with a potential takeover of the club seemingly edging closer to being completed in time for the winter transfer window.
There is no doubting that the Rams need reinforcements in their squad, otherwise they could be in serious danger of an almost-unthinkable relegation into the third-tier of English football.
One player that they should consider making a move for is Arsenal winger Emile Smith Rowe, who has struggled for regular game time in the Gunners’ first-team.
The 20-year-old spent last year’s campaign on loan with Championship side Huddersfield Town, and caught the eye with a number of impressive performances.
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The midfielder made 19 appearances for the Terriers, and chipped in with two goals and three assists, as they finished 18th in the Championship table in the 2019/20 campaign.
Smith-Rowe has been injured for part of the 2020/21 season with Arsenal, although he has since struggled to feature for Mikel Arteta’s side, who continue to struggle in the Premier League this term.
The winger has been restricted to just four first-team appearances in all competitions this season, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see other clubs register their interest in taking him on loan in January’s transfer window.
Derby could certainly benefit from adding to their squad in wide areas, as Tom Lawrence has been far from his best when featuring, whilst the Rams also have a lack of depth in that area of their team.
With a hectic run of fixtures still to come in 2021, squad rotation is key, and having competition for places is the ideal dilemma to have as a manager.
Smith Rowe would provide Derby with exactly that, and he could provide the creative spark that the Rams have been missing this season in the Championship.
He wouldn’t exactly be classed as a risky signing either, having already shown that he can perform to a high standard in the second-tier, having caught the eye with some strong performances with Huddersfield Town last season.