In the next part of our Know Your History series with Derby County News, we take a look at Derby’s top five record transfer fees spent on new arrivals.
The Rams’ desire for Premier League football sees the club’s top seven transfer fees spent all come under the ownership of Mel Morris, with Robert Earnshaw the next highest.
Here are Derby’s top five record buys:
5: Martyn Waghorn
Martyn Waghorn joined Derby in the summer of 2018 for a £5 million fee.
The former Ipswich Town man was signed by former Derby manager Frank Lampard, and he helped the Rams reach the playoff final in his debut campaign at Pride Park.
Waghorn then posted his best scoring season in 2019/20 under Phillip Cocu with 12 goals.
The 31-year-old, however, has struggled to replicate that this season with just three goals. Waghorn’s contract at Derby expires this summer, and he could leave for free.
4: Tom Ince
Tom Ince arguably goes down as Derby’s best signing during Mel Morris’s ownership.
The attacking winger arrived for around for a club record fee at the time in 2015. The fee was said to be £4.75 million, though in the end it seemingly surpassed £5 million.
Ince posted 37 goals and 15 assists in two-and-a-half seasons at Derby.
The 29-year-old was one of the only players who Derby made a profit on over the past six years, with Ince joining Huddersfield Town in 2017/18 for a fee nearer to £10 million.
3: Bradley Johnson
Bradley Johnson joined Derby on deadline day in 2015 for a record fee.
The midfielder cost the Rams around £6 million from Norwich City, and there are stories suggesting the Rams only heard of his availability 24 hours before his arrival.
Johnson helped Derby reach the playoffs in three of his four seasons at Pride Park.
Promotion, however, eluded the Rams and the 34-year-old later joined Blackburn Rovers.
2: Krystian Bielik
Derby signed Krystian Bielik in the summer of 2019 for a fee rising to £10 million.
The initial fee, however, is said to be at round £7-8 million placing him as Derby’s second highest record transfer following his move from Premier League side Arsenal.
Bielik was clearly signed for the future. However, two ACL injuries in as many years have prompted some Derby fans to fear he could follow in the footsteps of George Thorne.
The 23-year-old has enormous ability. During his 13 Championship games this season, Derby picked up 21 points compared to 22 points from 32 games without him.
1: Matej Vydra
Matej Vydra is Derby’s record buy with an initial fee around £8 million.
The Czech Republic international arrived from Watford in 2016. After an initial disappointing campaign, he then scored 21 goals in 35 league starts in 2017-18.
Vydra’s form attracted the interest of Burnley who signed him for £10 million in 2018.
Derby made a profit on the 29-year-old, but his departure was ultimately covered by star loans during Frank Lampard’s season in charge which only papered over the cracks.