Paul Clement was hired as the new Derby County manager in June 2015. His arrival coincided with Mel Morris’ first full season as owner of the Rams, and it sparked a mad summer splash.
The former PE teacher and Real Madrid coach spent over £20 million bolstering Derby’s squad. But who were his most costly signings, and where are they now?
Tom Ince spent the latter half of the 2014-15 campaign on loan at Derby, scoring 11 goals in 18 games. It was enough for the Rams to seek his signature on a permanent basis that summer.
The former Liverpool wide man went on to score 26 goals and grab 14 assists in two seasons. He was arguably Clement’s best buy at a moderate £4.75 million fee.
Derby sold Ince to Huddersfield Town for £10 million in 2017. However, after just one season in the Premier League, the 27-year-old returned to the Championship with Stoke City.
Derby re-signed Jason Shackell from Burnley for £3 million, having sold him to the Clarets three years earlier.
Shackell struggled to repeat his previous form for the Rams. The experienced defender made just eight Championship appearances in his final two years of a three-year contract.
The 35-year-old now plays for Lincoln City in League One.
Derby broke their transfer record to sign Jacob Butterfield from Huddersfield Town. The £5 million acquisition signed a four-year deal and helped replace the injured Will Hughes in his first season.
Butterfield was an initial success, scoring seven league goals in his debut campaign. However, the 29-year-old’s confidence later dropped, and suddenly he was a completely different player.
The former Barnsley man became a total passenger in Derby’s midfield. He was sent out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and later Bradford City in League One, struggling at both. Now he plays for Luton Town following his release from Derby in the summer.
Derby again broke their transfer record to sign Bradley Johnson on deadline day. The midfielder arrived from Norwich City in a £6 million deal having helped the Canaries to promotion.
Johnson arrived as a goal scoring midfielder at Norwich, but he soon became a holding player for the Rams. He often frustrated Derby fans with his sloppy passing, but he had certain qualities.
Arguably, the 32-year-old’s best performances in a Rams shirt came at the back end of last season as he provided some steel in Frank Lampard’s midfield.
Johnson’s contract situation was confusing as he approached the end of his four-year deal at Derby in the summer. The Rams ultimately sold him to Blackburn Rovers.
Abdoul Camara was dubbed the fastest player in the French top-flight upon his arrival at Derby. Supporters were naturally excited to see this potential gem likened to Riyad Mahrez.
Unfortunately, Camara’s natural speed couldn’t compensate for both a lack of ability on the ball and an overall awareness of the game. He cost Derby around £1.25 million.
The 29-year-old retired from football in 2018 on health grounds.
Paul Clement’s final signing in charge of the Rams before he was duly sacked was the addition of Nick Blackman. The striker arrived from Reading for around £2.5 million in January 2016.
Blackman topped the Championship scoring charts prior to joining Derby. He netted 11 goals in 25 games that season for the Royals. But he couldn’t repeat that feat at Pride Park.
The 29-year-old netted just once, a penalty, in 23 games for Derby. He was loaned out to Sporting Gijon and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. He joined the latter on a permanent basis this past summer, ending a miserable spell at Pride park.