Season after season, Derby continuously aim to buy their way to promotion, yet seem to be getting further and further away.
Nigel Pearson and Steve McClaren both failed to inspire the club back to the Premier League, along with Paul Clement the season beforehand, who, despite looking good for automatic promotion, was sacked for fears they wouldn’t go up.
But they look to be on to a winner now having appointed Gary Rowett as manager of the club, following his departure from Birmingham in the new year.
Rowett is one of the division’s best managers and did an incredible job whilst at Birmingham.
He’s signed some good names for Derby so far, but is now focusing on bringing in added attacking muscle before the season start.
The club have been heavily linked with Brentford attacker Jota, but given his price tag, perhaps a smarter investment would lie with Reading’s Garath McCleary.
An ex-Nottingham Forest man, McCleary joined the Royals on a free transfer in 2012 and has been a hugely influential player ever since.
He put injury problems behind him last year and enjoyed his best season in years, under Jaap Stam, with nine goals and nine assists making up a pretty sensational record for a winger.
At 30-years-old he would cost very little compared to Jota, who could command an eight figure sum.
McCleary offers pace, tenacity and flair to the equation along with his end.
He’s also a very versatile player, and was used in a plethora of positions under Jaap Stam on the right or left winger, up front as a striker or as a right wing back.
Brian McDermott also used him as a right back in the 2015/16 season.
This would be a smart move for Derby as McCleary is a deadly player at this level.
Derby fans… Do you agree with this? Would McCleary be a good signing? Let us know in the comments below.