This week marked the end of summer for all football fans with the first day of September and subsequent closing of the summer transfer window.
Whilst the Premier League and Sky were congratulating themselves on spending over one billion pounds in transfer fees, there was also a small amount of movement over at the iPro.
This, was by no stretch of the imagination, ‘Premier League busy’, but the comings and goings of those last few days in August have certainly caused a stir.
The incoming signings made by meser’s Pearson & Co. are what are usually referred to as solid Championship signings. The acquisitions of Matej Vydra and Ikechi Anya will add, to the squad, the pace that Nigel Pearson is after, in a similar way to James Wilson – signed on loan a few days earlier.
Vydra, who became the third Rams signing to break our record transfer fee in the past 14 months, will also add a bit of extra class as well. Apart from last season, where he struggled at Reading, he has a very impressive goal scoring record at Championship level, and at only 24, he has his best years ahead of him playing for the Rams.
Anya, a wide player from Watford, could be the nearest thing Derby have had to a traditional winger for a long time and both players are established in their respective national sides as well, which is an added bonus.
It is Derby’s outgoings that have caused a bit more of a stir amongst the home faithful, in fact I don’t think there has been a bigger topic among fans for quite some time – and that’s saying something with all of the changes over the past couple of years.
The departure of Chris Martin in particular has been splitting opinion down the middle, however even the die hard Martin fans could see that a move away from the iPro was on the cards. He’s a sellable asset who was probably struggling more than any to adapt to Pearson’s ways.
Pearson clearly wants to play with pace up front instead of having a target man, and pace is just not one of Martin’s attributes. Although it’s probably worth pointing out that those fans who were calling for him to be sold were probably the same ones who were moaning that we’d not had a 20-goal-a-season player for years before his arrival.
The ongoing saga at Derby during the close season was centred around whether Jeff Hendrick would be a Derby County player come the start of this new campaign. Newly promoted Burnley were flexing their muscles, albeit very weakly to start with, and when a third offer was turned down everyone thought that was it.
Hull City then appeared likely to sign him, with Derby willing to let the talented Irishman go, but right at the death Burnley came back in and finally got their man. Whether Derby needed to sell in order to balance the books for Vydra, we shall never really know.
I’m of the opinion that the reported fee of around £10m for a midfielder who wasn’t guaranteed a starting position at Derby is good business, and I’m also sure that all of the Derby fans wishes Jeff every success in his career.
So the team that nearly won promotion two and half years ago in that fateful season has been dwindled down even more. It came as a shock to read the other day that only a possible three players from the play-off final team could be picked to play in our next game on Saturday; Will Hughes, Johnny Russell and Richard Keogh – with Craig Bryson being the only survivor from the bench that day.
We have another two from that final in Craig Forsyth and George Thorne, but both are involved in ongoing injury problems at the moment.
I think it’s safe to say that one era has finally ended and with this new one, hopefully we will see a promotion winning squad but the question still remains – is this the Derby way?