After years of trying and failing to gain promotion from the Sky Bet Championship, Derby County tasked Gary Rowett with redeveloping the Rams and bringing a fresh approach to the Pride Park Stadium in their quest for the Premier League.
Rowett will be expected to make minor changes to his squad over the summer, as he looks to transform Derby from a mid-table side into genuine promotion contenders.
Curtis Davies has already been signed by Derby this summer, with the Hull City man brining promotion experience to Rowett’s side in defence, but the arrival of the 32-year old appeared to end the Rams’ interest in Newcastle United’s Grant Hanley.
However, Rowett has since revealed he is looking to sign another defender this summer, and that simply must be Hanley, who looks like he will be leaving Newcastle, following their Premier League return.
Despite not featuring much for the Magpies last season in their promotion campaign, Hanley has plenty of Championship experience from his time at Blackburn Rovers.
The Scottish international has a lengthy contract at St James’ Park, and will not come cheap this summer, but both his quality and experience could prove invaluable for Rowett in the Championship next season.
Despite reports suggesting Rowett’s interest in Hanley was over following Davies’ arrival, Derby must pursue a move for the 25-year old, as he would bring so much to them next season.
Derby already have Jason Shackell, Alex Pearce and Richard Keogh at the club, and the addition of Davies gives Rowett plenty of defensive options, but a move for Hanley could prove to be an exceptional piece of business.
A partnership of Hanley and Davies in central defence could be a promotion winning formula for Derby next season.