Why Derby County should reignite their interest in Jacob Murphy
Back in August, a report from The Sun (August 7, Page 50) had claimed that Derby County were one of the clubs interested in acquiring the services of winger Jacob Murphy on loan from Newcastle United.
The Rams had been joined by Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham and Huddersfield Town in their pursuit of the 24-year-old this past summer, with the Owls eventually winning the race to snap up Murphy on a season-long loan deal (h/t Sun).
Derby County eventually roped in Jamie Paterson and Kieran Dowell on loan from Bristol City and Everton respectively to cover for Harry Wilson and Mason Mount, while Krystian Bielik also came through the door from Arsenal as the marquee signing.
Murphy, on the other hand, has struggled to nail down a regular starting role at Sheffield Wednesday, with Owls boss Garry Monk only handing him eight starts in the Championship so far while using him as a substitute on a further seven occasions.
The former Norwich City youth graduate has scored twice in 15 league outings but he hasn’t managed to live up to the expectations following his move to Hillsborough on a season-long loan deal.
The Wembley-born wide attacker’s long-term future at Newcastle United continues to be up in the air, with fresh arrivals under Bruce pushing him further down the pecking order.
Murphy spent the second half of the previous campaign on loan at West Brom in the Championship after being deemed surplus to requirement by former Magpies boss Rafel Benitez. His successor Steve Bruce, too, hasn’t included the winger in his plans in the Premier League.
Murphy looked a cut above the Championship back during his days at Norwich City but he has struggled to make an impact in the top-flight since his move to Newcastle back in the summer of 2017.
A move to the Premier League perhaps came a bit too early in his career. The 24-year-old currently finds himself marooned in an awkward situation at his parent club, with the likes of Joelinton, Miguel Almiron, Christian Atsu and Allan Saint-Maximin all above him in the pecking order.
With Murphy struggling to find his feet in the Championship, Derby County should try to pounce on the opportunity and make a renewed attempt to lure him to Pride Park in January.
Given that the 24-year-old is already on loan at Hillsborough, Derby County making an approach to secure his services on a loan deal in January won’t make much sense.
However, a permanent offer could be enough to tempt Newcastle United to cash in on the out-of-favour winger.
The Rams slipped down to 16th in the standings following a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers in the Championship as Phillip Cocu’s side lost further ground on the top-six in the division.
With almost half the season done and Derby already 7 points adrift of the playoff spots, promotion hopes are fading away fast.
To that end, improving on a dismal scoring record of 20 goals in 20 games should be a top priority for the Dutchman in the coming months.
The likes of Chris Martin, Tom Lawrence and Martyn Waghorn have all chipped in with some valuable goal contributions but the lack of natural wingers must be addressed.
Lawrence, Mason Bennett, Duane Holmes, Waghorn and even Jayden Bogle have all been used in wide roles on either side of the pitch so far but none of them is a natural winger by trade.
Murphy is a proven source of goals and assists in the second-tier and while he hasn’t really hit top gear on his loan spells in the Championship in recent times, it is imperative to say that a permanent move to Pride Park in January could work wonders for all parties involved.
Also, his presence in the ranks would allow the likes of Lawrence and Bennett to shift to a more central role, thus enhancing overall squad depth.
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All in all, Derby County completing a permanent deal for Jacob Murphy during the mid-season trading period would be a shrewd piece of business.