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Derby County’s overall record in the transfer market over the last two years or so has been really poor. Given the fees they have paid out, more could have been expected from the likes of Bradley Johnson, Jacob Butterfield, Ikechi Anya, Andreas Weimann and especially Matej Vydra.
Every club has its success story though and the two best signings by Derby in recent times, taking everything into consideration are:
Let’s get the dirty talk of money out of the way first. Ince signed for Derby from Hull City two years ago for around £4.75million and would now be worth more than that. At just 25-years of age, his value will continue to grow too.
Of course, it’s not all about money. Ince’s performances have been excellent and he is one of only 3 players at Derby to pass 40 league appearances this season. During which, he has managed 13 goals and 6 assists from the wings which mark him out as one of the outstanding players in his position in the league.
Tom Ince is without doubt Derby’s best player and could yet be the subject of big bids in the summer. Newcastle United appear to have been stalking him for quite some time and with interest in Andros Townsend rapidly diminishing, the former Liverpool youth player could yet be set for a move to Tyneside.
About to hit 40 games this season, the big centre-back has been a rock for Derby this term. Of the regular starters, nobody makes more clearances than Pearce and his presence in the defence is a huge one. Average clearances per game by Derby’s regular defenders are 3.3 (Christie), 3.9 (Baird), 4.2 (Olsson) and 6.8 (Keogh). Comparing this with 10.1 clearances per game that Pearce manages shows his importance to the team.
Pearce was signed from Reading on a free transfer a couple of years ago – something which must surely irk the Berkshire side now. After several loan moves, Pearce went on to make 233 appearances for the Royals and is one of those classic late improvers. Pearce could yet prove to be a genuinely good Premier League defender going into his early 30’s and so at 28 now, is just starting to reach his peak.
People will talk all summer about star attackers coming and going, but if Derby are to build a squad capable of promotion, then it is imperative that Alex Pearce remains part of it. Gary Rowett has the freedom to build his own squad over the summer and being a former defender himself, it would be hard to see him not retaining Pearce.