Manchester United starlet Michael Keane could move to Pride Park as Derby look to take advantage of the relationships cultivated over the years by new manager Steve McClaren.
The former England boss was appointed as Nigel Clough's replacement earlier this week almost seven months after he left his previous management position with Eredivisie side FC Twente.
Derby currently sit 14th in the Championship - seven points beneath the playoff places - and the club are now planning to utlise the connections of their new head coach in order to revive their faltering season.
One target for the Rams is central defender Keane, 20, who has made only one first-team appearance for Manchester United, but is likely to be available on loan should an approach be made.
"I think Michael Keane has more opportunity of coming to this club with Steve McClaren as head coach because of his relationship with Manchester United," Rams chief executive Sam Rush told the Derby Telegraph.
"That is one of the things we are looking to do with our current set-up, to have connections and relationships with top clubs. This is a key area to find a competitive advantage.
"The top clubs have massive squads and they are hoovering up young talent left, right and centre.
"If clubs can feel they want to place their best players with us, and feel they are going to be coached to a really high level, then they are going to be happy to place them with us."
McClaren retains good contacts at at Manchester United having worked as No.2 to Sir Alex Ferguson during the club's historic Treble winning campaign of 1998-99.