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Opinion: Derby County should look to sign 37-year-old this summer

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Even though a takeover of the club still hasn’t been finalised, there is greater hope and belief than ever that Derby County supporters will have a club playing next season in League One instead of going out of business.

Chris Kirchner’s exclusivity period to conclude a deal has been extended and whilst purchasing Pride Park from the disgraced Mel Morris is proving hard to do, Mike Ashley is seemingly waiting in the wings if the American cannot break the impasse between himself and Morris.

One person who will be desperate for things to be concluded as soon as possible is Wayne Rooney, who has verbally committed to remaining at the Rams as manager, but for now whilst the club are still in administration he cannot offer new contracts to players.

A player who is one of those expiring contracts is the experienced Curtis Davies, who at the age of 37 managed to play every single minute of all 46 Championship matches last season as he rolled back the years with his performances – despite severely damaging his achilles the season prior.

Quiz: Which club did Derby County sign these 24 players from in the 2000s?

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GIORGI KINKLADZE

Both Bristol City and Hull City are believed to want Davies next season though, and with not long left in his career he would not be blamed for having one last shot at the Championship – especially if it’s a return to the Tigers.

Under the assumption that Davies will leave though and also Derby finally getting a takeover sorted, Rooney will ned to bring in a whole host of new players over the course of the summer in order to create a squad capable of winning promotion back to the second tier.

Several young players will factor into this, with the likes of Jason Knight, Max Bird and Louie Sibley already under contract, but experience is also going to be key.

That is something the club lacked throughout the season, but they could replace Davies with a colossus in defence who has proven time and time again that he is a born leader.

The player in question is Sol Bamba, who like Davies is aged 37 and will find himself a free agent heading into the summer, with Middlesbrough opting not to offer him a new contract.

Bamba’s story is an inspirational one – he battled back from a cancer diagnosis in early 2021 and after going on to eliminate the disease within four months, he made a final appearance for Cardiff City and then moved on to Boro under Neil Warnock, who had managed him at the Bluebirds.

Whilst the Ivorian was never expected to be a regular starter at the Riverside, there was a run of games in the Championship between September and December where he started 12 times in a row, and despite going back to being a substitute mainly in the end, Bamba amassed 28 appearances in all competitions in 2021-22.

Bamba has shown the ability to still be able to play to a good standard despite his advancing years, and he could really be a good mentor to Eiran Cashin, who broke into Derby’s side this season following Phil Jagielka’s departure and has gone from strength to strength.

Cashin would have to sign a new deal for that partnership to ever become a thing, but Derby will need some experience regardless next season in the third tier – and Bamba should be one of those to arrive.


25 years old, UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, Preston North End fan

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Derby County should look to sign 37-year-old this summer

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