Leeds United will be one of several Championship sides who will begin the season with a new manager at the helm.
The Yorkshire outfit finished seventh in the division last season under Garry Monk, but the 38-year-old resigned last month after failing to agree a new long-term deal with new owner Andrea Radrizzani.
This will likely have disappointed and frustrated Leeds fans who had seen the former Swansea chief bring much-needed stability to the club, yet they will also be looking forward to their new era under Thomas Christiansen, who was announced as Monk’s successor last week.
The 44-year-old took Cypriot side APOEL to the domestic league title in his first season in management last term, and he will inherit a squad at Elland Road that fell just short in their quest for a play-off last time out, but may need some reinforcements in some areas to sustain a promotion push.
And one man they’ve been linked with in recent days is Matt Derbyshire, the former Blackburn, Nottingham Forest, and Rotherham United striker.
The 31-year-old spent last season at Cypriot First Division side Omonia, bagging 20 goals in 24 league games for the club, and a further six in other competitions to underline his credentials in front of goal.
And these credentials have reportedly attracted interest from Christiansen’s Leeds, and it’s a deal the Yorkshire outfit must look to seal if they want to be near the top of the division once again.
And that’s because they need someone like Derbyshire to take the weight off the shoulders of star striker Chris Wood.
The 25-year-old New Zealand international scored 27 goals in just 44 Championship games last season to comfortably win the division’s Golden Boot, finishing three goals clear of Glenn Murray, Dwight Gayle, and Tammy Abraham.
He also finished 21 goals clear of the next highest Leeds goal-scorer, of which there were three in the form of Kyle Bartley, Pablo Hernandez, and Souleymane Doukara, and it’s that huge gap between Wood and the rest of the forward options which needs addressing this summer.
Not only does Christiansen need to keep hold of Wood, who himself is looking forward to working under the Dane, but he’s also got to find forwards that will chip in with goals when the 25-year-old is out of form, injured, or simply struggling in front of goal.
And Derbyshire could be that man.
26 goals in 37 games last terms represents a player who still has that killer instinct in front of goal, and although many will question the competitiveness of the Cypriot First Division, Derbyshire’s record in the Championship is also pretty decent.
The 31-year-old netted 25 goals and laid on eight assists in 136 games at second tier level in his career to date, which are stats that may not threaten Wood’s place in the starting eleven, but they could certainly provide a solid option behind the 25-year-old in the pecking order.
Ultimately, if Leeds want to earn promotion to the top-flight, the forwards need to chip in with key goals at key times, and Wood cannot be the only one to do so – others need to step up.
And £850,000-rated Derbyshire (as per Transfermarkt) could be exactly the sort of option which helps Christiansen’s side go one better next time round.