Derby County boss Wayne Rooney has revealed he needs far more than the four players the EFL are currently allowing the club to sign under their current transfer embargo rules, in an interview with Sky Sports News.
The Rams are yet to make a signing in this window having been hampered by these restrictions and despite being given more leeway by the governing body to make signings, the rules are still too strict according to Derby’s boss who currently has numerous players on trial.
A total of five trialists – Phil Jagielka, Tom Carroll, Ravel Morrison Sone Aluko and Sam Baldock – all started in their 1-0 win against Real Betis last night.
Quiz: What was the score the last time Derby County played at each of these 24 stadiums?
This is a damning indictment of where they currently are with just over a week to go until the new league season, with the likes of Curtis Davies, Andre Wisdom and trialist goalkeeper Ryan Allsop also in with a chance of receiving a contract.
According to The Telegraph’s John Percy, Davies, Wisdom and Morrison are all at the front of the queue to be handed deals.
But with the number of departures from Pride Park in recent months and the need to add depth to the squad even before this, Rooney has publicly pleaded with the EFL to allow him to make more additions.
Speaking to Sky Sports News after their victory against Real Betis, the 35-year-old said: “We need more (players). That’s (four new signings) nowhere near enough.
“We need that help to allow us to bring more players because if not, we won’t be on a level-playing field as the rest of the clubs (in the Championship) and it will be very difficult for us.
“If we don’t get the players in, including academy players I’ve got a starting eleven and three to go on the bench.”
The rules are the rules and every Championship club has to abide by them, but this is a dire situation for Derby County who face heading into the season without much chance of survival even with four signings through the door. As Rooney said, it’s clear they need more.
These harsh restrictions may be the Rams’ punishment instead of a point deduction, but either one is going to be detrimental to the East Midlands side because they have no depth whatsoever currently and will be in even deeper trouble if more players join Jason Knight in the treatment room.
They can start to mitigate the effects of these restrictions by not offering trialist Ryan Allsop a contract. Unless David Marshall or Kelle Roos are leaving the club, leaving one more squad space for Rooney to play with, why are they pursuing this deal?
The 35-year-old already has two decent goalkeepers at his disposal and is probably one of their only positions where they don’t need to strengthen. Instead, their first priority has to be re-signing Andre Wisdom and Curtis Davies with their current crisis in central defence.
From there, the Manchester United legend has a few tricky decisions to make if the current embargo rules for them stay in place.