The Rams have seen Mason Mount and Harry Wilson return to Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, meaning they're in the market for another playmaking addition.
Everton's Dowell looks set to go out on loan, and whilst Huddersfield looked to be leading the race, Derby are now attempting to hijack their move and bring him to Pride Park.
Everton just want Dowell to play first-team football in a team who play attractive football, but it's the appointment of new boss Phillip Cocu which may just strike a deal.
Cocu has a great relationship with Everton director of football Marcel Brands, having worked together in their native Netherlands at PSV Eindhoven.
The Times recently noted that Cocu is planning to take some Everton youngsters on loan, utilising those links with Brands to bolster the Derby squad.
Dowell fits the bill perfectly as a replacement for Mount, and Brands will surely trust Cocu with the midfielder's development having seen his coaching style at PSV.
Huddersfield will loathe to miss out on the 21-year-old, but Brands may do Derby a massive favour by picking them over the Terriers, all because of that relationship with Cocu.
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