Why Derby County would be wise to move for Luciano Acosta in January
The Rams’ links with the Argentinian comes from the arrival of their soon-to-be player-coach Wayne Rooney, who has asked the 25-year-old to join him at Pride Park after spending two years with him at D.C. United in the Major League Soccer. (h/t Derbyshire Live)
As per claims from The Athletic (h/t Derbyshire Live), Acosta is waiting for Derby to make an approach for his services but the Rams are yet to make any official contact with him regarding a potential move to the Championship in January.
The report doesn’t throw light on whether Derby are genuinely interested in moving for Luciano Acosta, who is currently a free agent following the end of his contract at D.C. United but it is well-documented that Rooney’s recommendation is going to hold its weight with the Rams’ recruitment team.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Acosta shot to prominence with Boca Juniors in his homeland and spent time on loan at Estudiantes and D.C. United before joining the latter on permanent terms in 2017.
The 25-year-old went on to enjoy a successful spell in the United States over the course of three seasons and formed a wonderful understanding with Rooney following his arrival from Everton in 2018, with the duo setting up goals for each other on a consistent basis.
Meanwhile, Derby County currently find themselves languishing at 14th place in the standings, six points shy of the playoff places after a hit-and-miss start to the campaign.
Phillip Cocu’s side have won 6, drawn 7 and lost 6 of their 19 league fixtures so far and they can’t really afford such inconsistencies if they are to climb up the table in the coming months.
The Rams have scored only 19 goals in 18 games so far, which is something that should be a major cause of concern for Cocu heading into the January window given that several promotion rivals have already outscored his team by a long margin in the first four months of the campaign.
Well, those make for some decent readings but a lack of creativity is something that Cocu needs to sort out if the Rams are to fight toe-to-toe with their promotion rivals.
The availability of former England captain Wayne Rooney from January is undoubtedly going to hand a massive boost to the club’s rather tame-looking strike force, but with Everton loanee Kieran Dowell failing to make any kind of positive impact, the manager can certainly do with a bit of reinvestment in order to bolster the creative department.
Lawrence and Duane Holmes have both played in the No.10 role behind the striker but neither of them has been as impressive and influential as last season’s star loan duo of Harry Wilson and Mason Mount.
With that in mind, bringing an out-and-out No.10 like Luciano Acosta in January could go a long way towards solving the Rams’ ongoing issues regarding a lack of creativity in the final third.
The 25-year-old formed a brilliant partnership with Rooney at D.C. United, and notwithstanding the fact that the MLS and the EFL Championship are poles apart, both in terms of quality and intensity, the fans at Pride Park could be in for some real fun if the duo manages to replicate its previous heroics.
Acosta only scored 6 times in the 2019 MLS season but it is his record in the 2018 season that should interest Derby a lot more. The Argentinian bagged as many as 10 goals and 15 assists in 34 league outings for D.C. United in that campaign, averaging 1.8 key passes and 2.5 dribbles per game, as per whoscored.
It is true that his lack of previous exposure in Europe could make it difficult for him to make an immediate impact at Derby County, considering his 5ft 3in stature and the gruelling physicality of the Championship but Acosta seems like an intelligent creative player with the potential to make a name for himself in a more competitive league.
To that end, bringing him to the club on a free transfer in January is likely to mitigate the risk of the move backfiring, and few would argue against the fact that the Rams are in desperate need of some creative reinforcements in January.
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Also, the fact that Rooney has recommended him means that he has certainly seen something in the Argentine which has convinced him that he is capable of making an impact in the Championship.
All in all, Derby County completing a free transfer for Luciano Acosta in January looks like a risk worth taking.