Former Derby County defender Raul Albentosa has been linked with a return to the Championship with Bolton Wanderers. According to The Sun (12 February: Page 53), the Trotters are keen to sign him on a free following his release from Spanish second division side Deportivo La Coruna.
It has been quite a journey for Albentosa. His struggles during his short spell at Pride Park highlighted everything that was wrong with Derby’s transfer policy at the time. But where does he rank in the top five worst Derby signings of the past five seasons? Here we take a look, starting at number five:
Abdoul ‘Razza’ Camara joined Derby boasting the tag of being ‘the fastest player in French’s Ligue 1’. Unfortunately, having incredible running speed counts for little without a footballing brain.
Camara wasn’t a poor technical player, but the speed of the Championship seemed too much for him. He was a gamble who lasted 18 months at Pride Park, making just a handful of starts, before returning to France.
Albentosa was dubbed a potential bargain when Steve McClaren signed him from La Liga side Eibar, triggering a £500,000 release clause in his contract. Standing at 6ft 4inch and coming from a possession-based league, Derby thought they were onto a winner.
Unfortunately for the Rams, the Spaniard looked lost at Pride Park and made just eight ill-fated appearances before returning to Spain, first with Malaga and then permanently with Deportivo.
Albentosa’s time at Derby coincided with the Rams’ great collapse. They were second in the Championship table in February 2015 yet ended up finishing eighth with just two wins in their last 12 games.
Technically Nick Blackman is still a Derby player, but supporters may need reminding of that. He joined from reading under then-manager Paul Clement as one of the Championship’s leading scorers that season (2015-16).
Blackman, however, couldn’t replicate his Reading form in Derby colours. He cost the Rams £2.5 million according to the BBC, so that’s £2.5m for every goal he has scored at the club.
The 29-year-old is currently on loan at Sporting Gijon after a previous loan spell in Israel. With his contract expiring this summer, Derby fans have already seen him play his final game for the club.
Ikechi Anya isn’t a bad player, and it’s not his fault Derby spent a ridiculous £4 million fee on him. However, he is high on this list largely due to his price-tag and lack of contribution during his stay with the Rams. He was signed by Nigel Pearson, who was later sacked after just nine games.
The former Watford man has made just 18 Championship starts since signing in the summer of 2016. He has yet to feature under new manager Frank Lampard, while he made just four starts last season.
Anya, 31, still has another year to run on his Derby contract. The club will surely look to sell him this summer, but his likely high wages could prevent that from happening.
Jacob Butterfield takes top spot as Derby’s worst signing in recent years after arriving for a then club record fee. In his first season under Paul Clement, the midfielder looked like a £5 million player, scoring seven goals in 29 starts.
Since the 2016/17 campaign, however, Butterfield has looked a shadow of his former self. The 28-year-old has frustrated fans with his endless sideways and backwards passing, while he takes an age on the ball.
The former Barnsley man has made just two starts for the Rams in almost two years. After a failed loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, he now finds himself on loan at League One strugglers Bradford City.