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Derby’s summer recruitment has been slow to get going and they may never land the striker they crave for. One of the key things they appeared to be missing, much like Wolves in fact, was the influence of a proper no.9.
The likes of Glenn Murray, Dwight Gayle, Chris Wood and Tammy Abraham were what the Rams were screaming out for last time around and it seemed like buying one of those types would have been a priority this summer.
Instead, defensive players Andre Wisdom, Curtis Davies and Tom Huddlestone have been the only arrivals, with the Derby attack further blunted by the sale of Tom Ince to Huddersfield Town. Let’s not write off Martin though, now that the 28-year-old is back from his loan spell with Fulham.
Martin is what fans call a ‘proper centre-forward’. 6 feet tall and having no issues with the hustle and bustle of competitive league football; his main attributes go beyond just finishing. Martin is the type of player who brings other people into play. Occupying the centre-backs for a full 90 minutes is a big part of Martin’s game and without that, other players often cannot find space.
Playing Martin up front next season, with him winning headers, throwing in the odd arm when needed and generally taking care of central defenders would allow the likes of Russell and Anya to thrive by running into space and providing the goals.
So, it must be remembered Chris Martin is capable of 20+ goals if you want to throw him up front with two old fashioned wingers in the side providing crosses. However, in a modern 4-2-3-1 system, his job will be to provide a buffer for the other attackers in the side.
He’s not prolific, necessarily if the system is not designed to fit him but he more than has his uses. That said though, in his three full seasons at the club before going out on loan, he managed 61 goals across all competitions, which in fact, would put him right up there with the best.
Given his need for supply, he could yet be a major reason Derby don’t feel the loss of Tom Ince as badly as they thought. Ince is a real talent, but much like Ronaldo at the very top level, that talent often means he can and will finish off his own chances once created.
With a different wide player in Ince’s place, the emphasis may well be on supply only, and so some of the goals that have left the side with Ince will be replaced by Martin as long as he is looked after.