As David Moyes will tell you, the temptation when moving to a new club, a new environment, is to hang on to certain familiarities. And that usually manifests itself in targeting trusted former players to help replicate the successes of the previous job.
And Gary Rowett did exactly that when he took over at a Birmingham City side seemingly destined for relegation, just one point off the bottom after a humiliating 8-0 home reverse to Bournemouth.
After dragging The Blues up the table to safety, however, he set about putting his own spin on a haphazard squad. Jacques Maghoma, a dynamic, unpredictable midfielder who had worked with Rowett at Burton Albion in League Two, was one of the first names through the St Andrew’s entrance just a few days after the transfer window opened.
The Congolese international duly netted more goals in his first season with Birmingham (5) than in his two previous campaigns for Sheffield Wednesday combined as Rowett once again coaxed performances out of an infamously erratic footballer.
Therefore, with the 43-year-old looking certain to replace the bumbling Steve McClaren at Derby County, as reported by the BBC, there’s no doubt that speculation with intensify suggesting Maghoma could follow Rowett to the East Midlands.
Derby certainly need a goalscoring midfielder with Craig Bryson, Will Hughes and Bradley Johnson scoring just five between them all season. However, they also need players capable of pushing for promotion. They need Premier League potential.
Maghoma, having performed in fits and bursts at Wednesday and even under Rowett at Birmingham, would not cut it at the iPro. At least not consistently.
Rowett may have been working on restrictive budgets at Burton and with The Blues, making Maghoma on a free a tempting proposition, but Derby are on another level financially and can compete with the division’s top sides having launched January bids for the likes of Henri Lansbury and Jordan Rhodes.
Rowett no longer has to rely on his trusted 29-year-old.
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