If there’s one player Derby County need in the January transfer window, it’s a combative and high-energy central midfielder to inject some life into a rather stately engine room.
While Joe Ledley has made a terrific impact since signing on a free in September, going eight games without defeat and recently signing a contract extension until the end of next season, Tom Huddlestone’s famously unflustered style continues to divide supporters.
A dynamic and box-to-box powerhouse could be the perfect foil for the defensively minded Ledley. Ironically, Craig Bryson, who was loaned to Cardiff City in the summer before Derby’s deadline-day deal to sign Birmingham’s Maikel Kieftenbeld fell through, might well have been the man for the job.
But with the BBC reporting that Aron Gunnarsson could leave Cardiff after refusing to extend a contract that runs out in the summer, perhaps the Iceland international skipper should once again be on Derby’s radar.
According to The Sun, Derby wanted Gunnarsson last summer and were willing to pay around £2 million. And they should consider tempting Cardiff into a sale at a similar price with the Welsh promotion chasers knowing that they will lose the influential midfielder on a free in a few months’ time.
The 28-year-old is a belligerent presence in the centre of the park renowned for his ability to hassle and harry opponents while adding bite and fight to the midfield – something Derby appear to lack with Huddlestone in the side.
But with Derby’s gameplan under Gary Rowett revolving around hard-work and edging tight games, an experienced and battle-scarred partnership of Ledley and Gunnarsson could lay down the platform for a genuine promotion challenge this season.