Gary Rowett will be looking for serious improvement at Derby County during his first full season in-charge, as the Rams look to match the ambition of their supporters and challenge for promotion in the Sky Bet Championship.
After a disappointing ninth-placed finish in 2017, players are expected to come and go from the Pride Park Stadium over the summer, but perhaps most surprising of all is Rowett’s attitude to the potential departure of Tom Ince.
Ince could be set to leave Derby this summer, with Rowett willing to let the forward depart for around £10m, despite the 25-year old showing signs of real quality during the 2016/17 campaign.
15 goals and six assists were Ince’s end of season stats, standing head and shoulders above the rest of Rowett’s squad and if he was to leave Derby, real quality would be needed to replace him.
Bakary Sako is a player Rowett could target over the summer, with the winger massively out-of-favour with Sam Allardyce at Crystal Palace.
The 29-year old has featured on just six occasions in the Premier League for Palace, with his time in South London turning into a hugely frustrating spell for the winger, who left Wolverhampton Wanderers for the Premier League in 2015.
During his time at Molineux, Sako shone in League One, before making a major impact in the Championship, scoring 15 goals during the 2014/15 season and helping Wolves to a seventh place finish.
Should Ince leave Derby this summer, a player with Sako’s qualities must be brought into replace him.
Sako has shown before in the Championship that he is more than capable of being a creative cog within a team, and his explosive style will be well suited to the way Rowett plays.