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…
New Derby County manager Phillip Cocu has made his first signing as Rams manager, with Everton’s England Under-21 midfielder Kieran Dowell moving to Pride Park on a season long loan, as confirmed on the club website.
The 21-year-old, made 16 appearances for Sheffield United last season during their promotion campaign, having previously spent time on loan at Nottingham Forest.
Boss Cocu told the website: “He’s an exciting young player with a lot of potential. I am looking forward to working with him.”
So will Dowell prove a good signing at Pride Park?
“I can see this being a good signing for Derby.
“With the departures of a number of midfielders – including Harry Wilson and Mason Mount – since the end of last season, it certainly feels like that is an area of the squad that Phillip Cocu will be looking to strengthen before the start of the new campaign.
“Dowell’s experience at this level, not least in winning promotion with Sheffield United last season, means that he could be well suited to the demands of what the Rams will surely be hoping is another push for their own return to the Premier League next year.”
“The loan market is one that certainly served Derby well last season, and this latest signing appears to suggest it is something they could be looking to exploit again in the coming campaign.”
“The attacking midfield positions is certainly an area where Derby needed to strengthen in wake of Mason Mount and Harry Wilson’s exit, and Dowell will have been an obvious choice to most.
“However, I doubt whether the Everton man can have the same impact as Mount and Wilson did under Lampard. Of course, Cocu will have his own ideas and system, but I’d be amazed if Dowell could produce what last season’s loanees did.
“He was hardly in inspired form for Sheffield United after joining on loan, and was very much part of the fringe players as Chris Wilder’s side stormed to automatic promotion.
“The jury is out in my eyes – the potential is there, but this loan has to see Dowell deliver.”
“I think that Dowell is a very good signing for Derby, as he is exactly the kind of player that they needed to be targeting.
“They obviously needed a new, creative midfielder following the return of Mason Mount to Chelsea after an impressive loan spell at Pride Park last season.
“Dowell may not be the quickest or most dynamic of players, but when he gets on the ball, he makes things happen and creates a hatful of chances.
“He was really impressive for Nottingham Forest, and also made a big impact on Sheffield United fans as they won promotion to the Premier League last term.”