After narrowly avoided what would have been a disastrous relegation to League One earlier this year, Derby County’s preparations for the upcoming campaign were put on hold due to the fact that they were at risk of suffering a points deduction to last season’s total.
However, it was confirmed last week that the Rams will be playing in the Championship as the English Football League opted against appealing a decision by an independent disciplinary commission to limit the club’s punishment for breaching Financial Fair Play rules to a £100,000 fine.
Whereas Derby manager Wayne Rooney will be hoping to assemble a side which is capable of achieving a relative amount of success at this level, he is currently unable to purchase players due to the nature of the club’s transfer embargo.
The 35-year-old will instead have to seek solace in the form of the free-agent market whilst loan deals may also be on the cards this summer.
One of the positions that the Rams will need to bolster this summer is central-defence as they are no longer able to call upon the services of Teden Mengi, Matt Clarke and George Clarke.
Rooney could be about to solve this particular issue by swooping for two players who both possess a great deal of experience at this level.
According to The Sun, Derby are currently casting their eye over Phil Jagielka and Richard Stearman by allowing them to participate in pre-season training.
Both players could potentially join the club if they are able to illustrate that they still possess the quality needed to compete at Championship level.
Jagielka was released by Sheffield United last month after making 12 appearances for the club in all competitions during the previous campaign whilst Stearman recently parted ways with Huddersfield Town following a brief stint at the John Smith’s Stadium.
GIVEMESPORT’s Joshua Cole says…
Whilst it is fair to stay that both of these aforementioned players are not expected to be part of Derby’s long-term plans for the future due to the fact that they are both over the age of 30, they could still help to transform the club’s fortunes next season.
When you consider that Jagielka and Stearman have made 203 and 355 appearances in the second-tier during their respective careers, they know exactly what it takes to thrive at this level and thus will be confident in their ability to make an immediate impact at Pride Park.
Providing that the Rams are able to negotiate reasonable fees in terms of wages with this pair, they ought to consider drafting them in as the presence of two experienced professionals may give the dressing room a lift.
However, Rooney will need to be certain that Jagielka and Stearman will both be fit enough to feature on a regular basis next season before making final decisions in relation to these two potential deals.
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