Derby County aren’t holding back this January transfer window, having now completed a deal for standout Charlton Athletic star Corey Blackett-Taylor currently with other moves also potentially in the works.
One of those moves could well be a deal for Derby to finally land Sheffield Wednesday striker Michael Smith, the 32-year-old lethal finisher at League One level eyeing up a transfer reunion with his former Rotherham United boss Paul Warne at Pride Park.
Yet, as the clock ticks nearer to transfer deadline day and tensions are raised with no official announcement forthcoming, the Rams could well have to cast an eye over alternatives to Smith in a bid to strengthen up top.
Here are three dream strikers Warne could look to go for if a deal for the ex-Millers striker doesn’t go through, including two potential swoops for League Two sharpshooters…
Derby could well go away from signing experienced figures who know League One inside out to gamble instead on a prolific striker further down the EFL pyramid, current Bradford City attacker Jake Young scoring goals by the bucket load whilst out on loan at Swindon Town earlier this season in League Two.
The 22-year-old would become a man possessed pulling on a Swindon strip immediately after finalising a move, helping himself to a ridiculous tally of nine goals from his opening six games for his new employers.
Young did experience an inevitable slump in form, but he still exited the County Ground with 16 goals next to his name after a fruitful switch which has led to Rams becoming interested in the 22-year-old’s services.
Touted for a big move to Derbyshire off the back of this unbelievable run of form according to Sky Sports’ Lyall Thomas, it would see Warne go for a raw and unproven finisher at third level over opting for the tried and tested approach which could well pay off.
Likewise, Warne signing Macaulay Langstaff would see the Rams boss explore the division below for a sharpshooter addition.
Langstaff has been even more of a prolific goal threat than Young has been at League Two level this campaign, the Notts County talisman netting a league-best 19 goals in the fourth tier this season with 20 managed in all competitions.
It’s not just been a breakthrough run of scoring however for the Magpies star-man, who now has an astounding 61 goals from just 79 games for County to date.
Linked with a move up to the Championship to Sunderland in this window, as confirmed by the Sunderland Echo, Derby have also been cited as an interested party and so will test the waters with the Magpies to see if they can land the on-fire 26-year-old.
This would appease a disgruntled fanbase who could be angry about Michael Smith not joining, acquiring a striker who has managed to navigate going up divisions with ease from non-league to League Two previously. Could he handle the step-up to League One?
Derby could well attempt to pile on the misery even more at the Valley with another raid of Charlton’s top assets, signing current joint-top League One top scorer Alfie May to join Blackett-Taylor at Pride Park.
Going toe-to-toe with Barnsley attacker Devante Cole in the third tier at the top of the scoring charts this season – both strikers now tied at 16 goals apiece – signing May would show to the teams at the top of the division that Derby are there to stay in the hunt for automatic promotion.
Much like Langstaff, the ex-Cheltenham Town attacker has been a reliable source of goals for a number of seasons now, especially in League One.
It’s why Derby were reportedly in for May when his Robins contract expired before a ball was kicked this season, only for Charlton to come out on top to land his services.
Only nine goals off Smith’s total at the level with May bagging 66 goals to Smith’s 75 – a total that could be surpassed this campaign if May continues his hot streak – the one stumbling block will be Charlton’s hesitancy to offload May after only signing him in the summer.
Yet, if Derby go all in for May as a result of a deal for Smith going awry, the Addicks could be handed an offer for the 30-year-old that they can’t turn down and so Derby could potentially poach two of Charlton’s key players in just one window.