Steve McClaren wanted Derby County to bring Hearts striker Bjorn Johnsen to Pride Park before he was replaced by Gary Rowett.

If Steve McClaren’s second spell at Derby County had not ended rather like his first – in disappointment, underachievement and an eventual departure – Bjorn Johnsen could be leading the line at Pride Park these days.

McClaren himself admitted in November 2016 that he had sent scouts to Tynecastle in order to watch Hearts’ powerful Norwegian intentional forward ahead of a potential move to the East Midlands, as reported by the Derby Telegraph.

A few months later, however, McClaren was gone, replaced by Gary Rowett. But, since the former England manager left Pride Park for the second time, Johnsen has been in the form of his life.

The nomadic 26-year-old was not exactly prolific in his only season at Hearts, notching just five goals in 34 league games. But since leaving for ADO Den Haag in Holland, New York-born Johnsen has not stopped scoring.

He has 12 in 24 Eredivisie starts this term. And he is just three goals off the top of the goal-scoring charts in the Dutch top flight, competing with the likes of former Chelsea midfielder Marco Van Ginkel and PSV’s £42 million-rated Mexican flyer Hirving Lozano for the Golden Boot.

He is equal with Ajax veteran Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and one ahead of PSV captain Luuk de Jong.

Fortunately for Derby, they have their own prolific goal-scorer right now in Matej Vydra, who has been included in the Championship’s Team of the Year. But if Rowett wants to bring in another striker this summer, perhaps he should pick up where McClaren left off.

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