East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and Derby County have endured opposite fortunes this season – with the Reds set to reach the play-offs and the Rams relegated to League One.
Off-field issues have made things near-impossible for Derby this term but despite a threadbare squad and a 21-point deduction, the Pride Park outfit came close to securing a remarkable escape from relegation under Wayne Rooney.
Forest spent the early weeks of the season in the drop zone but have been completely rejuvenated since Steve Cooper took charge in September and can confirm their place in the play-offs with a point against Fulham this evening.
If things go the Reds’ way, the fierce rivals could be two divisions apart next season meaning we may have to wait some time for another East Midlands derby.
Given how they’ve fared this term, it’s no surprise that the former’s squad has a significantly higher market value than their rivals.
Cooper’s group is valued at £50.58 million by Transfermarkt, which is £23.49 million higher than the Derby squad (£27.09 million).
While the individual valuations of the players may draw questions, the difference between the two squads makes sense given the players left at Pride Park are mostly young and up-and-coming or experienced free agent signings.
Even so, you’d expect the value of many of their young players – the likes of Eiran Cashin, Louie Watson, and Liam Thompson, for example – to rise significantly soon.
Interestingly, however, Rams midfielder Jason Knight (£5.40 million) is the highest valued player across the two clubs – with Steve Cook (£4.50 million) the highest valued Forest player.
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Loan players make up £10.35 million of the value of the Reds squad while Derby’s only loan signing, 19-year-old forward Luke Plange, has not yet been valued.
There are only seven Derby players valued at above £1 million – Knight, Tom Lawrence, Krystian Bielik, Max Bird, Louie Sibley, Lee Buchanan, Nathan Byrne – in comparison to 17 at the City Ground.
The two clubs’ fortunes have differed completely this term and these valuations hint at one of the reasons why – how much more Cooper has had to work with in 2021/22