The problem with taking a huge gamble in the final hours of the transfer window is that, if it blows up in your face, you end up looking rather silly.
And with Derby County still the lowest scorers in the top 15 of the Championship table despite engineering a remarkable run to take them to the verge of the play-off positions, they could be forgiven for wishing the clocks could be turned back to the evening of August 31st.
After all, Nigel Pearson’s decision to allow Chris Martin, the club’s top scorer for the last three seasons, to leave for Fulham on a season-long loan deal on Deadline Day rather sums up his legacy at the iPro.
Without Tom Ince’s tally of seven in his last ten league games, the extraordinary turnaround under Steve McClaren would surely not have been possible, especially with Darren Bent erratic, James Wilson injured and club-record signing Matej Vydra goalless since October 1st.
The Sun claims that Martin, who has scored seven in his last 11 games, wants to return to the East Midlands for family reasons and is more than a little excited at the prospect of reuniting with McClaren after two prolific seasons under the stewardship of the former England gaffer.
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic was understandably irate when asked about Martin's alleged refusal to honour his short-term contract at Craven Cottage, per The Sun;
“We are not a train station — you cannot get out where you want. I don’t know if he’s going to play for Fulham but he’s not going to play for Derby."
The last thing Fulham need, however, is a distraction and a player who could put the morale of the camp at risk.
And, at the end of the day, Derby want a goalscorer, Martin wants Derby. Sounds pretty much like the perfect solution, at least on one side of the fence.
Free Chris Martin— Jonny (@DCFCJonnyMonty) December 31, 2016
Martin is just doing what he has to after being forced to go somewhere he didn't really want to go. I don't blame him. #dcfc— Keith Butler (@keithbut83) December 31, 2016
I was 1st to say get rid of Martin. I still dont think he can play in Prem. But him coming home+us going up has inevitability about it #dcfc— Jonathan perkins (@Jonnyram21) December 31, 2016
I'm worried that Martin will unsettle Bent and Ince if he comes back, those two are amazing together, I don't think we need him back #dcfc— Brandon (@BrandonDCFC) December 30, 2016
"We're not letting him go to our rivals". We're not a mid table team like you, he's our player & we're talking about Martin not Messi #dcfc— Will Halford (@dcfcwilliam) December 30, 2016