Derby County manager Frank Lampard has suggested that the upcoming January transfer window provides an opportunity for Ikechi Anya to go and play first-team football after spending the season with the U23 side.
“Kechi is fit. He trains with the under-23s, at the moment, and that is it. Obviously he hasn't played (for the first-team this season), and we all know that, so I think January will be a decision for him whether he wants to go and play football,” Lampard said to the Derby Telegraph.
The 30-year-old found himself on the fringes of the team under former manager Gary Rowett, and now under Lampard looks to have been frozen out altogether.
Anya can play either on the wing or as a fullback, but with Derby having numerous options and looking to develop a youth-based strategy, it makes sense for the player to seek a move elsewhere.
The Rams will no doubt be conscious they aren’t going to get anywhere near the £3.5 million they paid for him, but moving him off the wage bill with his deal not expiring until 2020 will at least save them money.
Anya isn’t the only senior Derby player out of favour with Jacob Butterfield, Chris Martin, Nick Blackman, George Thorne and Alex Pearce also on the books - but either out on loan or limited to playing in youth matches.