Opinion: Wayne Rooney would be wise to sanction Derby County move for forward ahead of Sam Baldock as transfer update emerges

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Derby County are facing a pivotal period over the next few weeks with the Rams desperately needing to add players to their squad in key areas before the campaign gets underway.

Wayne Rooney has been prevented from making additions to his squad for most of the summer so far due to the Rams being placed under a strict transfer embargo by the EFL.

However, that has now been eased and Derby are permitted to make as many as five new signings to bolster their numbers heading into the new Championship season.

The Rams have a lot of work to do and need to make those five additions to the squad count if they have any chance of avoiding a real struggle next term.

Whilst the defence has to be a real priority for Rooney, he will also be aware that he needs to make the right addition in the attacking third to help provide support for Colin Kazim-Richards.

Derby have had former Reading forward Sam Baldock training with them during the pre-season period to date and he has been featuring in some of their matches. The 32-year-old will be hoping he can do enough to earn himself a Championship lifeline after the Royals allowed him to leave.

The forward did not manage to score a single goal for Reading in his 20 Championship appearances last term, although only four of those were from the start. He averaged just 0.4 shots and 8.8 touches per appearance for the Royals last season to highlight how much he struggled when he did feature.

In Derby’s current predicament a move for Baldock does not seem like the worse idea given he has experience at Championship level and has even been a key part of the Brighton side that earned promotion in 2016/17.

However, according to the latest report from the Stoke Sentinel, the Rams could still yet make a move to re-sign Lee Gregory on a permanent deal.

That would represent a much better addition to Rooney’s squad and not least because he had impressed the Derby manager according to reports during his spell on loan with them last term. That had seen the Rams be interested in adding him to their squad earlier in the window before.

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Gregory has been linked with other potential moves this summer, but at this stage, he remains very much available for Derby to swoop for.

The experienced forward managed to register three goals and provided one assist in his 11 Championship appearances for Rooney’s side last term in his short loan spell to underline the extra quality he could bring to their attack.

The 32-year-old’s stats were far better than Baldock’s last term with him managing to average 0.9 shots, 0.6 key passes and 18.1 touches per game in his 19 appearances in the league for both Stoke and the Rams.

It should therefore be a no-brainer that in a choice between the pair Rooney has to select Gregory. There is no way that the Rams can sign both players in their current situation, so even though Baldock has been training with them it is surely the right decision to do all they can to get the Stoke forward into the club.

The forward would be fully aware of what Rooney demands from his players and already has that chemistry with his potential new team-mates from his short spell with them last term. Gregory is also someone that links the play as well in the final third and is proven to be able to add some goals as well in the Championship.

In any other window the choice to sign either Baldock or Gregory would not be very inspiring to Derby fans, but this summer those are the best options out there for them and Rooney has to get the choice right.

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