Derby County January Window

With the January window only open for 2 days, the Rams have copied last year’s blueprint and flown out the traps with 3 new signings (of different types admittedly) already.

As expected, Shots £500k move from Stoke is confirmed (significantly freeing up a loan space), Darren Bent arrives from Villa and ex Chelsea youngster and Swedish youth international Isak Ssewankambo arrives on trial with the U-21 squad. Clearly the recruitment department didn’t choose to “have the extra day” as many companies have done this year.

It’s been my view for the last 6 weeks that Derby would make a significant splash in this window.

Clearly its silly season in terms of speculation, but I always think there is a pattern to the type of players you get linked to. It’s no accident that players such as Deeney, McCormack, Wood & Castaignos, all of which would command multi million pound fees, have been linked with Derby this year. In the same way it was no co-incidence when every Scottish premier League player even vaguely near the end of his contract was linked with Derby in the Clough era.

If we look at our direct competitors, Ipswich and Bournemouth have no or very limited funds aside from the ability to do loans. Boro could possibly do a bit, Watford will more likely sell and parachute a replacement in from somewhere else in the Pozzo organisation with Norwich the only ones who may take a punt.

The things you never thought you'd write - Rams sign £24m England Striker.

The things you never thought you’d write – Rams sign £24m England Striker.

On that basis, if Derby bring 3 or 4 new players into the first team squad (which I think they will), we could achieve a major jump on everyone.

The signing of Bent is a great start. History is littered with teams at the top of the Championship who bring in that experienced or additional striker in January to get you those couple of extra points to get you over the line. Leicester did it with Phillips last year, Hull with George Boyd, Cardiff with Maynard, Southampton with Billy Sharp etc etc. Many players now are made for life with a couple of £4-£5m moves when in their prime however very few have moved for the fees Bent has, on so many occasions. As I said earlier today, I am convinced he will lap up the service he will get at Derby and, as someone else said, it will be great to see him both instead of and alongside Martin. Come February, as the majority of the division loses interest, we will start to see lots of goals for sure.

In other news, there was some lazy journalism recently suggesting Ibe may be re-called. I don’t see this at all and honestly don’t think Rogers is that short sighted. Talking of Ibe, what a great example of the success of our recruitment team and our relationship building – signing a relatively unknown youngster who turns out to be one of the most naturally gifted players in recent Derby County history. Compare that to the car crash, kid playing football manager desperation of Forests Tom Ince fiasco and you get the point.

So what else can we expect in this window? I think there will be at least one foreign loan, probably from Holland. I also think we may go for a creative number 10 type player to support the possible move to a plan B diamond.  Left back is an obvious squad weakness although Fozzy seems to have recaptured his best form at just the right time. Finally an experienced headers and tackles centre half may also be on the menu for those tricky away games in March April that make the difference. Let’s also not forget that Wardy, Thorne and to a lesser extent Bryson are all due to come back firing.

Whatever happens it’s going to be a cracking couple of weeks and, as my brother said today, all a far cry from haggling over an extra £50k for Conor Sammon at 17.00 on deadline day.

Come on You Rams!


Posted on January 2, 2015, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. We really could do with someone with a huge canon of a shot in likes of Rioch, George, and Hinton of old.

  2. Recruitment is everything and it seems that we have a seriously professional department in place under Chris Evans.

    It sounds like Ssewankambo could be one for the first-team squad, as he has been playing regular Eredivisie football. A physical specimen who can cover right back, defensive mid or even centre back? Yes please! Sounds perfect. No pressure to throw him in if he’s not quite ready, but could be a real asset.

    If we can get promoted, staying up will be all about finding the right players from both the foreign market and domestically. We won’t have a problem securing a couple of top prospects from the elite PL clubs and clearly we have scouting in place worldwide as well. Leicester failed to do much on either front this summer – Man United have just recalled Nick Powell from them, as they were unhappy with his treatment, for example – and they face a real season of slog as a result.

    You just feel like if we did go up, we would have a list of targets ready for every position. Not to say we would necessarily secure them all, but at least no stone will be left unturned.

    I noticed a recent preview article giving a predicted DC line-up, which included an average height stat – six foot. The team is growing literally, as well as metaphorically.

    Just finally on our rivals – Bournemouth have had a bid rejected for Demarai Gray of Birmingham, so they do have a few quid to burn. I seriously do not rate the Norwich manager, they are underachieving massively under him. Boro look like they can stay the course. Ipswich have a chance as well. Watford need Pozzo to find them another player wiyh the impact of Vydra and that’s always a possibility.

    Exciting times…

  3. I’m both excited and intrigued to see how Darren Bent works out with us. He should be chipping in with a few goals at this level and as you say, with the service he should get from our midfield , there should be opportunities. When Leon Best blazed that chance over yesterday I did think that Bent would have scored that….

  4. That cannon of a shot should be with us as and when Thorne returns – any news on that btw? It’s like a new signing in itself.
    Best’s days may well be numbered given Steve M’s ominous if diplomatic comments about his having been both unlucky given Martin’s from and also unable to seize the few opportunities that have come his way… Saturday being a case in point.
    I too suspect some foreign incomings given recent rumours and Steve M’s Dutch connections… would love to see another centre back given Whitbread’s ongoing injuries, and another attacking option along the classic no 10 lines that you mention.
    All told, very up beat about the second half of the season!

  5. I look at the team, and those on the bench, and don’t see too many that would possibly cut it in the Premier League. I see Hughes, Martin, Ibe, Russell, Bryson, Thorne, Christie, Grant, Ward, Bent and possibly Dawkins and Roos. I’m not too convinced at all about Hendrick, Keogh, Buxton, and Forsyth, and Shotton battling it out in the Premier with the big boys. As for Barker, surely his days are numbered, when will he announce his retirement?

    Any thoughts?

    • I think you would be hard pushed to find any team in championship history that’s going to take a first 11 into the premier league and compete.

      If we went up its inevitable the team would need to evolve again which would mean casualties. I think Hendrick and Keogh are both full Eire internationals so I’m sure they would still be involved.

      The nature of our squad is we have a lot of quality young players who will all be challenged to move on a step. Even for the likes of Hughes and Thorne, there’s no guarantees. the premier league is very much sink or swim but equally a nice problem to have.

  6. I feel pretty good about our recruitment at the moment. The Ssewankambo thing is an example of creative and thorough scouting to find a player who could potentially be a godsend – from what I hear, he has physical presence and can cover a number of positions, especially RB where we’re light and DM, where unfortunately The Eust can’t go on forever.

    By the way, I noticed a match preview article recently which gave a predicted DCFC starting XI with an average height of 6 foot. Given how lightweight we used to look, I found that interesting. The team is literally growing, as well as metaphorically.

    Bent could be the extra dimension we need – a mate of mine who doesn’t support Derby has watched us a bit lately (during our recent TV series) and he felt we needed an intelligent poacher to run beyond Martin and stretch teams. Hey presto, we sign a man who has spent his whole career doing that at the top level. I don’t expect us to change formation necessarily, but in games where we’re being frustrated at home, what a fantastic option to have to bring on.

    In terms of players who can and can’t make it in the PL – we have to get there first. Ed Dawes tweeted that he wasn’t sure about the Shotton signing, because he didn’t think Shots could cut it in the top flight… But you can’t sign PL players on Championship salaries. Could we have got a better defender for the money?

    If we do go up, a new global market of players opens up for us and that’s when it becomes crucial that we get the right ones, because we’ll have all sorts of crap offered to us. Leicester didn’t do enough this summer, hence their struggles – Billy Davies, because he was clueless, tried to get domestic-based players who were always likely to have better offers. Under Chris Evans, we will certainly leave no stone unturned. What odds we turn up another rough diamond like Paolo Wanchope? It’s more difficult in this day and age, but you never know. And we should be able to get a couple of top prospects from the PL elite as well, given McClaren’s reputation as a coach.

    Big opportunity to crack it this year. Everybody senses it. That brings pressure, so let’s hope the players thrive under it and get the job done…

  7. It seems to me that the management team are building a team to see us through the second half of the season that will give us promotion. If we are successful, every player will then no doubt be assessed as to what their contribution was. Players such as Shotts, and those other players that currently are hard to tell whether they will make the grade will be determined during the next 4 months, beginning with how they fare against other promotion hopefuls like Ipswich this week-end. Can the defense that we have right now stifle the likes of Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick. If our heads are in our hands this time next week the management team might be dipping into the transfer market to beef up the defense.

    Keogh and Buxton are real “nice” guys, and in particular Buckenbauer (as he’s often called) has really grown, but I can’t help but feel that we lack some sort of solid intelligent players at the heart of the defense. Todd and McFarland were immense, intelligent, and so solid. Oh for two players of their stature again. Guess I’m just dreaming! I hope I’m eating my words after Saturdays game.

  8. Bouncing Cheque

    Talking of Ibe, what a great example of the success of our recruitment team and our relationship building – signing a relatively unknown youngster who turns out to be one of the most naturally gifted players in recent Derby County history

    I am not entirely sure about Derby’s new strategy since Clough’s departure. I certainly think it is worth signing good loan players from elite clubs who we cannot afford to sign permanently. Instead of bringing in cheap lower league signings not up to scratch, such as players released from PL sides (Hoganson), we are now bringing in young European players, who may be more talented but are not familiar with the rigours and demands of the second tier – and, in their own way, are not ready made signings who cost more and can make an immediate impact. Having said that, Albentosa sounds an interesting signing and is experienced.

    As for Ibe, I never really bought into the argument that elite PL clubs were reluctant to lend players to Clough and keener to let them join us after McClaren became manager. Firstly, we did borrow players (Vidal, Sunu), maybe less heralded players who weren’t an improvement on what we had. Secondly, I think Clough preferred to have permanent players in the set-up rather than relying on loans. In 2010/11, we began to rely on loans and several of them were recalled, leading to disruption, and he adopted a different approach.

    And that’s what happened to Ibe. Ironically, his success at Derby meant that his parent club recalled him early from his season-long loan and I think his pace was definitely missed on Saturday against Nottingham Forest.

    I am not entirely sure about Darren Bent, he’s been on loan around several clubs without making a big impact, but hopefully he can score but I think another creative attacker with pace, obviously now Ibe has gone, is a priority. The return of George Thorne will also be a boost but he will need time to pick up fitness and should not be rushed.

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