Did Derby County dodge a bullet as Glenn Whelan's Aston Villa struggles continue?

Gary Rowett, Manager of Derby County  during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Huddersfield Town at iPro Stadium on April 17, 2017 in Derby, England.

Derby County attempted to scupper Aston Villa's deal for Stoke City midfielder Glenn Whelan in the summer.

Glenn Whelan of Aston Villa during the pre season friendly match between Aston Villa and Watford  at Villa Park on July 29, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce was delighted to pull off a deal for Stoke City’s veteran midfielder Glenn Whelan in the summer, especially as the transfer was hardly straightforward.

As reported by The Mail, Villa had an initial £500,000 bid rejected and owner Tony Xia seemed unwilling to put any more money on the table after growing concerned with the hefty sums spent on transfers in recent times.

As such, Championship rivals Derby County looked set to swoop in and nab Whelan from under Villa’s nose – until they eventually agreed to meet Stoke’s £1.5 million asking price and hand the midfielder a two-year deal (Sky Sports).

Glenn Whelan of Aston Villa and Jerome Sinclair of Watford during the pre season friendly match between Aston Villa and Watford  at Villa Park on July 29, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

So far, however, you wonder whether Villa’s effort was worth it. Whelan promised to provide experience, composure and reliability in the centre of the park but instead looks like an ageing 33-year-old out of touch with the fast pace of life in the Championship.

Best days behind him

In fact, some Villa supporters even found time to criticise the Republic of Ireland international on Twitter despite their Saturday being brightened by a hugely impressive 3-0 win at Barnsley, the club’s second three point haul in eight attempts this season. Whelan has started seven league games but it’s fair to say he has a long way to go to convince the Villa faithful.

Therefore, Derby will not be too disappointed to have missed out – despite lacking depth in central midfield. The Rams let Craig Bryson and Jacob Butterfield leave on loan for Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday on the understanding that Mikael Kieftenbeld would be arriving from Birmingham City.

Gary Rowett manager of Derby gives instructions during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Wolverhampton at iPro Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Derby, England.

However, after missing the transfer deadline, the EFL refused to ratify the move, leaving manager Gary Rowett frustrated and dogged with selection headaches.

Yet, Whelan has still done little to suggest that he would add quality as well as much-needed quantity.

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