Striker Nick Blackman has left Derby County to rejoin Maccabi Tel Aviv, the Israeli side have announced.
Blackman had still been under contract at Pride Park following the end of last season, but the 22-times Israeli champions have claimed that a deal has been agreed with the striker to bring the 29-year-old back to the club on a two-year contract, with the option of an additional 12 months.
The striker previously spent the 2017/18 campaign on loan from Derby with Tel Aviv, where he scored 12 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions, helping them to win the Toto Cup – a separate competition held between teams in the top flight of Israeli football – that season.
Since joining Derby from Championship rivals Reading in the summer of 2016, Blackman has made just 29 appearances for the Rams in all competitions, scoring once, with the striker spending last season on loan in the Spanish second tier with Sporting Gijon.
Derby themselves have yet to confirm Blackman’s departure from Pride Park.
I don’t think this will be to big a concern for Derby.
Blackman has never really found much form during his time at Pride Park, and you imagine he won’t be all that missed when you look at the striking options Phillip Cocu still has at his disposal at the club.
It is possible, that, given the lack of impact he has had, Derby will be more relieved than anything else about finally being able to free up some space in the squad and on the wage budget that had been taken up by Blackman, as they look to build a squad capable of competing for promotion going forward.
Even so, it does seem slightly strange that Maccabi appear to have jumped the gun with their announcement here, with the Rams as yet having issued no form of confirmation as to the future of the striker.