Derby County may be in for a tough summer if they cannot strike a deal with the EFL to get rid of their transfer embargo.
As part of the new reporting system that was introduced this week, the Rams were pulled up on five different sections where they have fallen short of expectations and deadlines, and that means punishments in terms of registering players.
Wayne Rooney needs to do some major work to his squad this summer to turn it from a relegation-battling one from last season to one that could potentially challenge for the play-offs.
He’s already lost players like Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn to other clubs, and he will be looking to keep others at the club as well as bringing some names in, with Richard Stearman and Phil Jagielka both training with the club right now.
Let’s look at THREE transfer situations that Rooney will be looking to address before the season kicks off on August 7.
With Derby having obvious issues still off the field, there may be a chance for Premier League clubs to take a cheeky punt on some Rams starlets – including Jason Knight.
The 21-year-old Ireland international has had a sensational rise since the start of the 2019-20 season and was even entrusted last season with the captains armband on occasions.
Knight is definitely the shining light of the Derby team and it was reported back in May that Brighton & Hove Albion were leading the summer chase for his signature.
Whether that’s still true remains to be seen but Rooney will be hoping that he doesn’t have to lose Knight this summer.
The higher or lower Derby County transfer fee quiz – can you get 20/20?
As of right now, Derby don’t have a single centre-back contracted to the club, but that could be set to change in the near future.
Loanees Matt Clarke, George Edmundson and Teden Mengi went back to their parent clubs and both Curtis Davies and Andre Wisdom’s contracts expired on June 30, leaving Rooney with no senior options.
Mengi could be returning on loan from Manchester United pending EFL approval and Rooney is looking to add Jagielka and Stearman to the squad as well, but he will surely be looking to try and secure Wisdom’s signature.
The former Liverpool defender played 25 times last season for the Rams, mainly at centre-back and he’d clearly be useful to the team for the upcoming campaign.
There’s been no update on Wisdom’s current situation but there’s a chance that the club could be locked in talks with him.
With the departures of Marriott and Waghorn to Championship rivals Peterborough and Coventry respectively despite being offered new deals, Derby are left with just Colin Kazim-Richards for a striker option right now.
That isn’t going to cut it so Rooney needs the club to sort out their issues with the EFL as soon as possible as Kazim-Richards needs a supporting cast around him.
Rooney may have to delve into the loan market and could perhaps be given a helping hand by one of his former clubs – perhaps someone like Ellis Simms from Everton could be someone to target after his success with Blackpool – but they’re needed soon so they can click in pre-season before the real games begin.