Would allowing Richard Keogh to leave be a mistake by Derby?

Derby County’s Richard Keogh has been linked with a move away from the club.

According to a report in the Guardian last month, Newcastle United boss Steve McClaren was said to be considering a raid on his former employers Derby County for £4m-rated centre-half Richard Keogh.

Keogh is a player who certainly divides opinions among supporters and conjures up plenty of debate as to whether he should be a regular first-team member.

The Rams have been busy on the signing front this summer, with three defenders in Chris Barid, Alex Pearce and former Burnley skipper Jason Shackell all joining the club.

It takes Derby’s potential centre-back tally to six players, prompting questions as to whether last season’s trio of Jake Buxton, Ryan Shotton and Keogh has a future at the club.

The latter is undoubtedly a strong defender, but that last-minute mistake in the 1-0 2013/14 playoff final defeat to QPR lives long in the mind of those Derby fans who doubt him.

It’s an error which will seemingly never be forgiven by a certain section of the support, and every ensuing mistake is an extra incentive for his doubters to sharpen the knives further.

But surely getting rid of the Republic of Ireland international would be a huge mistake. After all, this is a defender who has been named by fellow professionals in last season’s PFA Team of the Year.

The 28-year-old has plenty of experience, he’s an excellent distributor from the back – he posted an 84.3% pass success rate last season – and racked up eight effective clearances per Championship match.

Alongside the more physical Jason Shackell, the duo have all the hallmarks of a wonderful centre-back partnership, with both incredibly fit and regularly appearing in 40+ matches per season.

With the club boasting arguably the division's best attacking talent, a consistent backline and a united support behind them will give Paul Clement's men every chance of winning promotion to the Premier League come next May.

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