Following Patrick Bamford’s successful loan stint last season, Derby County are preparing to raid the Chelsea under-21 treasure trove once again, with skipper of the junior side Lewis Baker in their sights.
The Rams strayed as close to the Premier League as the play-off final in 2013/14, with their borrowed Blue bagging eight times following his January switch to the iPro Stadium.
As a result of that excellent campaign, the east Midlanders share joint-favouritism for Championship promotion, available to back at 2/1 alongside neighbours Nottingham Forest.
Incidentally, the Tricky Trees are up next for Steve McClaren’s men, who are 37/20 to prevail at the City Ground.
The loan market is one that the former Middlesbrough and England gaffer hasn’t been afraid to utilise in his time at the Derby helm, with Ryan Shotton, Jordan Ibe, Leon Best and Real Madrid’s Omar Mascarell all signed on rental agreements this summer.
Despite this, it appears as though their balding boss isn’t satisfied with his current crop and is hopeful of landing much-praised Chelsea teen Baker in the coming days.
County face stiff competition from Leeds United for the youngster who Jose Mourinho lauds as a future England international, but the latter’s increased prospects of success would surely lend them the upper hand.
The nine-month injury lay-off suffered by summer signing George Thorne has coerced McClaren back into the loan market and he regards Baker as the perfect box-to-box foil to pair with the creative powers of fellow tyro Will Hughes in the centre of their midfield.
His appetite for goals, tireless legs and leadership skills has prompted several quarters to liken the burgeoning talent to Chelsea icon Frank Lampard and his acquisition will go a long way to improving a Rams attack that’s been fairly frugal in the net rustling department so far.
Aside from their 5-1 decimation of Fulham, Derby have plundered multiple strikes in the same match on just two other occasions this term.