The Rams are expected to cut their wage bill this summer, meaning new boss Frank Lampard will have to be smart in his first transfer market as a manager.
Many have expected Lampard to return to former club Chelsea and ask for players, and reports now suggest that one Blues talent could be heading back to Derby this summer.
Sky Sports report that Derby and Lampard have now been given permission to hold talks with Chelsea midfielder Kasey Palmer, as they look to beat Championship rivals to his signature.
Palmer, 21, spent the second half of last season on loan with Derby, and hit two goals and one assist in 16 games under Gary Rowett – but he started just twice for the Rams.
Palmer was always unlikely to be in the first-team reckoning at Chelsea, and Derby are now moving to bring him back to Pride Park on loan next season.
Championship rivals Norwich City and Sheffield United have both been linked with signing Palmer, but Lampard may be hoping that his links with Chelsea help him win the race for the former Huddersfield playmaker.