Whichever division Derby County are playing in next season, reinforcing their forward line needs to be at the top of their list of priorities.
Free agent signing Colin Kazim-Richards has proven a smart addition but other than him, no player in the Rams squad has scored more than three goals this term.
Wimbledon marksman Joe Pigott is someone that Derby have been linked with but over the weekend, it was revealed that Watford are set to win the race for him by offering the 20-goal striker a wage six times his current one.
The Rams are going to struggle to compete with Watford on that level but those reports should highlight just how difficult it could be for them to solve their striking problem in the summer.
The Pigott situation should show Derby that they need to be doing all they can to bring Manchester City teenager Liam Delap in on loan for the 2021/22 season, including using whatever advantages they might have.
TEAMtalk has reported this morning that the Rams are among five clubs interested in taking him on loan, with Cardiff City, Middlesbrough, Stoke City, and West Bromwich Albion their competition.
The 18-year-old has fired in 20 goals in 18 Premier League 2 appearances this term, as well as scoring his first goal in senior football, and looks ready to cut his teeth with a season in the EFL.
It is understood that Man City are yet to make a decision over his future and could wait until pre-season to do so, though Derby should ensure they’re at the front of the queue if they agree to let him go for the season.
Delap developed through the East Midlands club’s academy before leaving Pride Park to join the Premier League outfit back in July 2019.
The links he may still have with the club could help the Rams persuade him that returning there on loan is the right move, while the player himself may feel he has some unfinished business there.
The chance to play under and learn from England’s all-time leading goalscorer and one of the finest Premier League strikers ever, Wayne Rooney, should also be something that Derby look to use to their advantage.
Those two factors could give them the inside track on a deal for Delap, something which the East Midlands club need to capitalise on.