Derby County are a team that has always been reluctant to stay quiet in this summer transfer window.
Supporters were led to believe that this year would be vastly different.
However, it seems that they couldn’t live without expanding their squad and instead have made as many as nine signings in preparation for the new season.
Thesignings, though, have been disparate to their usual transfer business. The biggest difference being that Derby have promoted youth — a rather senior Derby County side needed adolescence and rousing young minds and legs, and Frank Lampard has introduced exactly that.
As many would have predicted, Lampard’s first two signings (Mason Mount and Harry Wilson) were young loanees — sent to restore some youth and energy into an aging side. That was the supposed plan, thought fans of the club, but then came a somewhat exciting surprise as Derby began spending money… again.
In came Florian Jozefzoon and Jack Marriott. Two more attacking options added to what already seemed like a top-heavy side.
The depth in Derby’s squad (particularly their attack) is immense for sure… but does it come at a price? The wages for these attackers must create some cause for concern and Derby undoubtably now need to reduce their squad and offload some players.
Needless to say, the impact of these two signings must not be underestimated. Neither should the introduction of George Evans, a versatile defensive midfielder who has already shown that he is more than capable of filling in in at centre back.
Evans will give Tom Huddlestone and Joe Ledley some healthy competition. For all of Huddlestone and Ledley’s knowledge and experience in the game, their aging status must not be overlooked. Time after time, in the second half of last season, the midfield pair grew tired and lacked energy. Evans, aged just 23, will aim to ensure that this does not happen again.
Derby were far from finished in the transfer market and utilised transfer deadline day to its fullest.
In the final days of the summer transfer window, Derby signed Fikayo Tomori on loan from Chelsea, and Martyn Waghorn, Scott Malone and Duane Holmes from Ipswich, Huddersfield and Scunthorpe respectively.
Whilst Tomori and Scott Malone will pose healthy competition in Derby’s defence, Waghorn will join an already staggeringly bolstered attack. A lot like many of their previous singings, Holmes is a versatile player, a more natural midfielder who can also play in a more advanced attacking position. Derby have favoured players who are comfortable in numerous areas of the pitch this window, which creates an exciting sense of unpredictability.
Derby have loaned in as many as three players ahead of the upcoming season, which supports Lampard’s claims that he will be looking to reduce the average age of the starting eleven and inject some hungry, youthful energy back into this team. With loans still being permitted after the closure of the transfer window, Derby still may not be satisfied.
Moreover, the introduction of Derby’s youth players will feel like an abundance of new signings. Max Lowe, Luke Thomas and Mason Bennett all featured regularly and impressed during the pre-season. They will all be expected to endure a more substantial role at the club in the coming season.
Derby have often fallen foul to their own problems: injuries have consistently played an overwhelming part to their failures in the seasons gone by.
The confidence that these young players may gain from more match time may mean that Derby won’t be so heavily reliant on one starting 11. They will now look forward to half time substitutions and tactical team changes more so than they have ever done before.
It is fair to say that Derby haven’t been this excited about their young talent since the early days of players like Jeff Hendrick and Will Hughes. A lot of credit must go to Lampard and Jody Morris who were keen, from the get-go, to show faith in these young, talented individuals.