It has been somewhat of a torrid transfer window for League One side Derby County despite new players arriving at Pride Park. The side lost Jason Knight, who it could be argued was their most influential player when the midfielder left the club for Championship side Bristol City, but Kane Wilson did join the Rams as part of that sale. The player departure links have continued in recent weeks, with Max Bird subject of a bid from Championship side Hull City and defender Eiran Cashin drawing interest from the Premier League.
One position the club have been trying to strengthen this window is their striker options, with Conor Washington joining from Rotherham United. Despite that signing, Paul Warne appears to have his sights set on another striker joining the East Midlands club this season, which they have made a disappointing start to. The target has always appeared to be of a similar profile to Andy Carroll, with the side linked to numerous strikers over 30 in the summer window. The club have missed out on some big names, with Billy Sharp opting to move to LA Galaxy and reports suggesting that Jordan Rhodes was never likely to be a move that happened.
It has recently been revealed that Derby’s League One rivals Reading will be undergoing a squad overhaul to raise funds this summer, with Carroll one of the names said to be available for sale. Reading have been another side that have endured a disappointing start to life in League One so far. Their win over Cheltenham Town on Tuesday evening was their first of the season after three games, and the club were handed a point deduction this week.
This is the first time in his career that the Englishman has played below the Championship, with the 34-year-old at one time being one of the most expensive British transfers after signing for Premier League giants Liverpool. That move did not amount to the expectation surrounding the striker, who was tasked with replacing talismanic forward Fernando Torres following his move to Chelsea. It appears Carroll does not intend to stick around in the third tier, with the club giving him the green light to move on from the club. At this moment, it is not yet known who is looking to make a move for the former England international this summer.
With a move likely to happen for the striker, Carroll may have to accept game time in the third tier for a season unless a move abroad becomes one of his options. Many clubs in the EFL will surely be hopeful of being in with a chance of securing the former England international’s services, but he could perhaps be a suitable target for Derby County, whose striker search is proving to be anything but fruitful this summer.
They are looking for a replacement for David McGoldrick, who joined Notts County this summer after his contract with the Rams expired and Carroll would fit the bill of what the club appear to be looking for. The target man played 30 games in the Championship for the Royals last season, scoring nine goals, showing he could be a suitable option for the club even after League One if they are to escape the third tier this year.
The age that Paul Warne is targeting for this position would appear from an outside perspective to indicate that this is a position they are looking to address in the short term once they have achieved their goal of a return to the Championship. They missed out last season and were one of the favourites for automatic promotion this time around, but a poor start leaves them playing catch up at the early stages of the campaign. However, with just three games played, they have time to address their problems in the transfer window and get back on track.
Carroll’s situation should put the Rams on alert and see them make a move for the forward. It may be that he is unwilling to play in the third tier for Reading, but it could be the situation within the club rather than the status of the division itself. After all, we have seen stranger things happen in the transfer window. Troy Deeney joining League Two side Forest Green Rovers is one example from this window.
However, if the issue is with player wages or simply his desire to play at a higher level, Derby County may miss out on the forward. However, he is one worth the Rams taking a chance on if they can agree a fee for Carroll. Given he is contracted until 2024, he will not be a player Reading let go for free.