Why Derby County should beat Cardiff City to Luke McCowan
According to Football Insider (h/t Derbyshire Live), Derby County have been linked with a move for Scottish starlet Luke McCowan, who currently plies his trade with Ayr United in the Scottish Championship.
Apart from the Rams, Cardiff City are also keeping close tabs on the 19-year-old attacking midfielder, who has made eyeballs turn with his consistently impressive displays in the Scottish second-tier this term. (Football Insider h/t Derbyshire Live)
Born in Greenock, Luke McCowan started his footballing education at non-league outfit East End United F.C before joining Ayr United at the youth level in 2015.
Having signed his first professional contract in the summer of 2017, the teenager burst on to the scene in Scottish League One during the 2017-18 campaign and followed it up with a bit-part role in the following season in the second-tier.
McCowan made only nine appearances for Ayr United across all competitions last term but he has really come of age in the ongoing campaign to establish himself as one of the mainstays at his boyhood club.
The 19-year-old, who is out of contract at Ayr United next summer, has racked up an impressive tally of 8 goals and 7 assists in 17 appearances across all competitions and his stellar run of form has put some of the clubs south of the border on red alert.
A left-footed attacker capable of playing in a No.10 role behind the striker and also out wide on either flank, the highly-rated teenager has already earned rave reviews for his development and his rich vein of form is well backed up by his impressive tally of goal contributions this season.
To put things into perspective, Luke McCowan looks like a real talent at this stage of his career and he could be a good long-term investment for both the aforementioned clubs. But Derby County would bag a real coup if they manage to beat off competition from Cardiff in the race to sign the 19-year-old.
Derby would have hoped to mount another promotion surge under Phillip Cocu this term, having made it all the way through to the playoff finals last season, however, a poor start to the ongoing campaign has damned the Rams to mid-table obscurity.
The Rams currently sit 15th in the standings after securing only 5 wins from their first 15 league fixtures and a return of 18 goals so far clearly epitomise the need for attacking reinforcements in January.
As opposed to the likes of Mason Mount and Harry Wilson, who were so influential in the attacking third under Frank Lampard last season, Everton loanee Kieran Dowell has offered next to nothing in a No.10 role behind the striker and Derby’s links with Luke McCowan certainly look justified.
Realistically, though, the Rams would be better off looking at the Ayr United prospect as one for the future given that the 19-year-old is still very young and he needs an intermediate step; a stepping stone to hone his skills before he becomes capable of making the jump to the Championship.
Yes, the youngster has excelled with his playmaking skills in the Scottish Championship but there is a lot of difference between the Scottish second-tier and the EFL Championship, both in terms of intensity and the level of competition. McCowan would probably need to go through a loan spell in League One if a move to Pride Park does materialize.
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Derby need an immediate game-changer to solve their creativity issues and while McCowan certainly doesn’t fit the bill in that regard, the teenager looks like a big talent with loads of potential. Early signs suggest that he could possibly go on to evolve into a future star at the club.
With that in mind, Derby County beating off competition from Cardiff City in the race to sign Luke McCowan could pay rich dividends in the years to come.