In recent years, Derby County have hardly been a force to be reckoned with in the transfer market. Years of needed austerity put in place by former US based owners GSE (General Sports and Entertainment) saw the club slash wage bills, prey on the lower leagues for talent at a cut price and heavily rely on the loan market to aid Nigel Clough’s admirable fight to keep the club from falling into League 1. However, with the arrival of Derby-born businessman Mel Morris as the new owner, the club now has considerable financial muscle, something not seen at Derby since fans’ favourite chairman Lionel Pickering in the 90s and early 00s.
By the time the 1st of September arrived in 2015 and the summer transfer window finally shut it’s doors, the Rams had spent an unprecedented £20m, breaking their transfer record three times in the process. A total of nine players had been brought in at prices varying from £0 up to £6m, transforming Derby’s already strong squad into a force to be reckoned with, considered to be one of the strongest sides in Britain outside of the Premier League.
With the season passing its half way point, the Rams have stuttered despite their strong first half of the season and many are now wondering whether the now £25m (Abdoul Camara from Angers SCO, Nick Blackman from Reading and Marcus Olsson from Blackburn Rovers all coming in during January) was a wise investment or simply a waste of money. Each player has had a good spell of form, but are any worth their transfer fees?
Scott Carson – Undisclosed
The former Wigan keeper came as something of a surprise signing during the summer, with many fans questioning whether the former England number 1 was a step backwards for a team that intended to be fighting for promotion. However, since his move for an undisclosed fee, Carson has proved himself as a quality goalkeeper, only just entering his prime as a professional footballer. His calmness and stability has helped add a steely resolve to Derby’s defence which was so terrifyingly shaky towards the end of last season. Whether he’s an out and out improvement on Lee Grant is still to be seen, Grant is a superb keeper that can pull of some saves that don’t seem possible, but the defence seem less confident with Grant in the sticks, possibly down to his unfortunate ability of pulling off a howler every so often (see Wolves’ second goal vs Derby at the Molineux last season). Carson may not be the most spectacular signing, but he has added a resilience that recent Derby teams have lacked.