Telegraph reporter John Percy has told SBW Podcast how Derby County will sell a leading youngster this summer with West Ham United reportedly a leading suitor.
The Rams are in a scrap for Championship survival this season.
Regardless on what division Derby find themselves in next season, manager Wayne Rooney will want to make additions this summer but finances at the club are tight.
Derby sold Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle to Sheffield United last summer, while 16-year-old Kaide Gordon joined Liverpool in January for a fee of £1 million rising to £3 million.
Speaking to Steve Bloomer’s Washing Podcast, Percy claims the current model at Derby is to sell one big player every year to help strengthen the squad elsewhere.
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“I wouldn’t think money would be significant [this summer] if Mel Morris is still the owner. I can’t see massive amounts of spending. There will be a lot of trading, and a sale or two. It’s common for most Championship clubs. Forest down the road sell one a year, and the model at Derby is to do the same. I think there will be another big sale at the end of the season like there was in January with [Kaide] Gordon going to Liverpool,” Percy explained.
Derby have one of the best academies in England right now, with current youngsters Lee Buchanan, Jason Knight, Max Bird and Louie Sibley all first team members.
The report claims the Hammers have taken a particular liking to Lee Buchanan, who Derby boss Wayne Rooney dubbed one of the best young left-backs in the country.
Sibley, meanwhile, is also a target for Leeds United with chief Victor Orta telling the Yorkshire Post last year how the Whites have been monitoring his progress at Pride Park.
Should either Premier League club come calling with an eight-figure fee this summer, it would be difficult for Derby to refuse with the Rams financially up against it.