Phillip Cocu has completed his first signing as Derby County manager, with Everton playmaker Kieran Dowell arriving at Pride Park on a season-long loan deal from Goodison Park.
The 21-year-old flew out to Florida a couple of days ago, in order to meet up with his new teammates and undergo a medical with the Rams, before the club confirmed the loan capture on Thursday night.
The attacking midfielder has experience of the Championship having enjoyed impressive loan spells with both Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United over the past couple of years, and he will undoubtedly looking to help Derby go one step further after their play-off final heartbreak last term.
Here, FLW writer George Harbey discusses the Rams’ latest recruit in today’s six pointer…
Firstly, what do you make of this signing?
“I think that this is a very shrewd piece of business from Derby, and a very underrated signing for the Rams.
“Dowell is a very talented player who has thrived in the Championship before – he scored 10 goals in 43 games for Nottingham Forest in 2017/18, and also helped Sheffield United win promotion to the Premier League last term.
“He may have only scored twice in 17 games for the Blades last season, but he developed a real mature side to his game at Bramall Lane, and was almost considered to be “one of their own” upon his return to Everton.”
Was it an area which they needed to strengthen?
“100% – Derby definitely needed to add another creative player to their squad, and Dowell brings that in abundance.
“With Mason Mount and Harry Wilson returning to parent clubs Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, it is unlikely that they will return to Pride Park this summer given the seasons they had last time out.
“They still have some very creative players in the likes of Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett, but they needed a midfielder who plays through the middle like Mount.”
What will Dowell bring to Derby?
“Dowell is a traditional attacking midfielder, a traditional number 10.
“He may not be as dynamic or as tenacious as Mount is, and that’s probably a side of his game he needs to work on – picking the ball up and running at defenders with pace.
“But, he is a player that has a knack of finding space which other players can’t, and with the ball at his feet, you will struggle to find better players in the division.”
Do you expect him to start week in, week out?
“It would be daft of Cocu not to start him week in, week out.
“Derby have plenty of quality players going forward, and even though it remains to be seen which formation Cocu uses next season, you would expect Dowell to play in behind Jack Marriott or Martyn Waghorn.
How should Derby fans feel about this signing?
“They should be delighted with this signing.
“It would have been easy for Cocu to come in and bring in loads of players from Holland who are unproven in the Championship, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all.
“But in Dowell, they have loaned in a player that knows the Championship inside out, as well as strengthening in a position that needed fresh faces adding to.”
Finally, after signing Dowell, where else should they look to strengthen?
“I think that Derby simply need to replace their loan stars from last season this summer.
“They are missing a young, fresh face in the middle of defence, so they could potentially look to bring back Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea.
“I would also say that they need another winger, especially with Florian Jozefzoon being linked with a move to Bundesliga side Schalke.”