Graphic: Derby County’s strongest starting XI, including two deadline day additions

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Derby County have been busy on the transfer front this summer.

Derby County have been one of the most active Championship clubs this summer in terms of transfers, bringing in as many as nine players on permanent deals.

After missing out on promotion to the Premier League despite topping the table for a number of weeks last season, owner Mel Morris has opted to make a big push over the past few months.

Aside from bringing in highly-rated coach Paul Clement as manager, Derby have broken their transfer record on two occasions – first with Tom Ince, and then on deadline day with Bradley Johnson.

Results haven’t been good so far, yet there is no doubt that the Rams boast one of the best squads outside the top-flight and securing a play-off spot has to be the very least of the club’s ambitions this season.

New signings Jacob Butterfield and Bradley Johnson are expected to jump straight into the first-team for the upcoming clash at Preston North End, largely due to the injuries to Will Hughes and Craig Bryson.

But when the duo return, Clement is going to have a wealth of quality options at his disposal and as per the graphic below, we’ve made an attempt at picking out his best possible XI.

Now Derby have a number of top players - they can ultimately use differing systems depending on form, opponents and player availability, but the popular 4-3-3 from last season remains their best choice.

Such a system allows Chris Martin to act as a pivot through the middle, Tom Ince to feature in his favoured right-forward role and former Norwich City star Johnson to operate in his best position on the left.

In midfield, George Thorne and Will Hughes are a must, and fellow signing Jacob Butterfield adds an extra creative body in the middle to compliment the team's attacking trio.

With Jeff Hendrick, Craig Bryson, Jamie Hanson, Andreas Weimann, Darren Bent, Simon Dawkins and Johnny Russell also on the books, Derby seriously have a squad to be envious of.

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