Derby County have avoided relegation by the narrowest of margins on three occasions over the past couple of months.
Firstly, they relied on Cardiff City scoring an 88th minute equaliser versus Rotherham United in order to finish above the Millers. They then hung onto a 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the season to finish above the Yorkshire club.
Following the end of the 2020-21 Championship campaign the Rams have then had to fight off two appeals from the EFL to have them relegated for financial irregularities.
A points deduction for Wayne Rooney’s side is a certainty ahead of the 2021-22 campaign – it’s just a matter of how many. 3 or 12? They are already the bookmakers’ favourites to be relegated this campaign, as per bet-ny.com.
To make things worse for the East Midlands club, they currently only have nine experienced professionals on their books and are undergoing another transfer embargo. Only by appeal have they been allowed to sign free transfers and loan players – a maximum of five.
With the club in jeopardy, here are five free transfers we think Derby County could sign to give them a prayer in avoiding relegation to League One:
Derby don’t currently have any centre-backs on their book. It’s hugely important for them to sign at least two of their own in this position instead of relying on loanees. Phil Jagielka may be 38 years old but has a wealth of experience which includes 40 England caps. He’s played with Wayne Rooney and his leadership at the back would be huge given that Rooney has a handful of youngsters in his squad. He was previously linked with a move to League One side Sunderland, according to NinetyMinutesOnline.
Has been on the books for the past four years, although only played five games in their last playoff season and just a dozen appearances last campaign too. Curtis Davies knows the club, brings experience and will likely re-sign for the club if he cannot find another offering bigger wages whilst he’s available.
With only a handful of players on their books, Derby County are going to have to take some risks this season. Goals were hard to come by last season and they don’t have much of a threat in the central attacking midfield position. Ravel Morrison was highly-rated at Manchester United a decade ago whilst Wayne Rooney was delivering for Sir Alex Ferguson’s first team. However, a poor attitude and numerous failed opportunities since finds the 28-year-old without a club once again. The player must know by now this could be his final big opportunity in football if he fails it. He knows the manager on a personal level so if Rooney could motivate Morrison then this could prove to be an excellent short-term deal.
The Republic of Ireland international has recently been released by Premier League club Burnley. Still only 29 years old, whether Robbie Brady would accept a move to the bottom of the Championship remains to be seen. But like Ravel Morrison above, he was a youngster at Manchester United whilst Rooney was smashing in the goals for the first team. Not much of a goalscorer but an excellent provider down the left wing and from set pieces could help increase the number of goals for the rest of the team.
This may be the most ambitious on the list but Andy Carroll’s playing time at Newcastle United over the past two seasons was very limited. In fact, the former England international has not made 20 Premier League appearances in a single campaign since 2015-16. With Martyn Waghorn gone and Colin Kazim Richards only scoring one goal since extending his contract in February, the Rams desperately need a goalscorer. Put the ball on the head of the 32-year-old could be a useful tactic.