Derby County are part of a seven-team tussle in the pursuit of Aston Villa forward Cameron Archer, according to the Daily Mail.
Although Preston North End have also registered their interest in the 20-year-old, it’s mainly League One teams who are interested in his signature, potentially putting the Rams at an advantage in this race along with the Lilywhites as they look to strengthen in their bid to remain afloat in the Championship.
Scoring a hat-trick against Barrow in the Carabao Cup earlier in the season, Archer is already a name known by many after such an exceptional performance at The Dunes Hotel Stadium and could be an exciting addition to the Rams’ ranks.
Quiz: Can you name which club Derby County signed these 20 strikers from?
The East Midlands side were severely lacking in options up top after seeing Colin Kazim-Richards stretchered off against Peterborough United in August, with the club then severely hampered by their transfer embargo and had to request special permission from the EFL to recruit a new senior striker with Jack Stretton the only real option for them at the time.
With this permission being granted, Rooney moved to recruit summer trialist Sam Baldock until this month following his release from Reading, although it’s Luke Plange that has impressed more recently with the 19-year-old scoring twice in five league appearances.
Emerging as a threatening option up top, he has allowed Kazim-Richards to come off the bench and be a real threat, perhaps demonstrated most by his recent goals against West Bromwich Albion and Derby County.
One man that hasn’t been able to make as much of an impact in a Derby shirt though is 32-year-old Baldock, with the East Midlands side mostly playing a lone man up top and that role clearly not suiting the ex-Brighton and Hove Albion man, with the wing spot also not his best position.
If Rooney is to get the very best out of the experienced forward, he needs to operate with two up front, something he isn’t likely to do whilst the current formula works.
So with his contract coming to an end, it would probably be a good idea for the Rams to decide against renewing his current deal after seeing him score just twice in 13 league matches and utilise this free room on the wage bill to provide a more attractive deal to Villa for young forward Archer.
Baldock is dedicated, experienced, his work rate is second to none and a great head to have in the dressing room, but in their current situation, every player in the current squad has to provide value for money in terms of their contributions on and off the pitch.
Similarly to David Marshall, he may be a valuable veteran to have on the training pitch and off the field, but the reason why the Scotland international looks to be on the way out is due to his lack of game time and after seeing Baldock remain as an unused substitute in their past two league games, surely Rooney must be considering his future.
Offering fresh terms just seems nonsensical at this stage – but well done to the 32-year-old if he can extend his stay at Pride Park because he must be showing the Rams’ boss something some of us can’t see.
Either way, there’s definitely a future for the forward in the EFL, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up in the coming months.