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Sensible Transfers – Derby County: Keeping Jagielka and leaning on Rooney’s Man United and Everton connections – The Athletic

During January, The Athletic will be running a piece for each of the clubs we cover, looking at which positions they need to strengthen and using insight from our reporters and data from our analytics team to consider players who might fit the bill.

Next up in this Sensible Transfers series are Derby County, who intend to bolster their wide positions and add cover in attack.

The January transfer window is usually the opportunity for clubs to plug holes in their squad on the cheap. The long-term injured need replacing, out-of-form players need upgrading.

Had Derby County not been deducted 21 points, they would now be just eight points away off the Championship play-off places and well above the drop zone. In another universe, this window would have been the ideal time to replenish the squad to push for the top half.

Instead, Derby entered January rooted to the foot of the table, under a transfer embargo and in administration.

A month ago, it seemed inevitable they would be playing in League One next season. But thanks to a run of four unbeaten matches — picking up 10 points along the way — their once impossible job has become… improbable. It would still take an extraordinary effort, but as Derby defender Craig Forsyth — who overcame a 25-point deduction with Dundee to survive comfortably in the 2010-11 Scottish top flight — will tell you, it can be done.

Rooney has made a list of transfer targets, but incoming will largely depend on outgoings. More than anything, he would like to extend the contracts of Sam Baldock and Phil Jagielka, as the short-term deals they signed in the summer expire in mid-January.

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