This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sone Aluko is one of a number of free agents that are training with Derby County at the moment.
With the Rams under a transfer embargo, Wayne Rooney is limited to just loan and free agent signings.
Reports have indicated that Phil Jagielka, Richard Stearman, and Ryan Allsop are training with Derby at the moment, while a video posted by the club on Twitter showed Aluko and Sam Baldock are doing the same after leaving Reading earlier this summer.
But would Aluko be a good signing for Derby? And do they need him?
We quizzed our FLW writers…
I think it’s probably a reflection of where Derby are at the moment.
They aren’t in the best position in terms of their recruitment and Aluko is hardly the type of signing that’s going to have fans believing they are going in the right direction.
The 32-year-old has a wealth of experience and there was a time when he was one of the Championship’s standout options out wide. The 2016/17 campaign was a great one for example.
However, Reading never saw the levels Aluko unearthed at Fulham and his career has declined as he’s slipped into his thirties.
When you think of what he’d offer Derby, he’d do a job. Offer another option out wide and be reliable for Rooney.
It is, though, a show of where Derby are. They are being forced to take on free agents and pad out their squad, with the season approaching at a rapidly worrying rate.
I think it sums Derby’s predicament up.
I don’t mean that in a bad way towards Aluko as I think he is a good pro and a player that could lend good experience to Derby at Championship level but is he the player he was? And will he reach those levels again?
Ultimately, Derby are in a position where they are going to have to bolster their squad with players that aren’t going to break the bank and Aluko obviously fits that description.
He’ll want to show that he can be a regular still at Championship level, too, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens here.
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Put simply, Derby County can’t be picky in this transfer window given their current situation.
Aluko would be a decent player to add to their squad but isn’t a player who has been in great form over the last few seasons, having struggled to consistently impress during his time at Reading.
On his day, the 32-year-old can be a really tricky operator and has the ability to carve out opportunities for his teammates, but he’s just not had frequent game-time nor has he showcased the sort of form we came accustomed to when he was at Fulham.
Right now, any player coming through the door at Pride Park has to be considered as a positive given the threadbare nature of the team right now, and increasing lack of experience within the squad.
There would be worse signings on a free transfer, but it goes to show the state Derby are in now and the ambitions they likely have for the upcoming season.