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Derby County’s summer transfer recruitment drive hasn’t quite gone the way the fans may have hoped for. Even now, going into August, only Hull’s Tom Huddlestone and Curtis Davies have been brought in alongside Andre Wisdom but more could yet follow.
Personally, I think Gary Rowett has done it the right way, using patience and thinking about quality rather than quantity. He now appears close to signing Tom Lawrence and Jota. If he manages to sign both, the likes of Middlesbrough and big spending Wolves will have a tinge of jealousy. Here’s a XI which could very definitely win this league:
The ex-England man has tons of experience and will quietly get on with business once again.
The former Liverpool man is a very good replacement for Cyrus Christie and now that he has found a proper, permanent home, he can show his best football.
A quality signing and one who can still be regarded as a Premier League class player, Davies will have a lot to contribute to Derby’s cause.
Statistically, Pearce was one of the best centre-backs in the division last season which may surprise some. Should stay in the Derby XI.
He could still give more going forward, which he often threatens to do. But in any case, he is a solid enough full-back at this level and won’t let the Rams down.
Another very solid if unspectacular signing and he will keep them ticking over in the midfield, similar to how Shelvey did at title-winning Newcastle United last time.
May well be used for his experience this season by Rowett and could provide a very solid midfield two with Huddlestone.
A different player to the departed Tom Ince, He is right footed and won’t cut inside from this position quite as much. However, that is fine given the different style of Wisdom behind him in comparison with Christie last season, who overlapped more. A Premier League player of the near future.
Cried to be allowed to play in the middle last season but didn’t always produce. Given that he is just 25 and possesses quality, he’ll be allowed to give it another go.
When on loan at Ipswich in this division last season, Lawrence comfortably produced his best football in this sort of position. He is getting better by the week and would be a massive signing for the club.
A hold-up striker who is much better than his stats will ever show, Martin could yet lead the line in a title-winning side.