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£10.6m down the drain: Derby messed up with one signing who earnt 3.5x Sibley’s wage



Derby County knows that a point against Carlisle United, who are now at the bottom of the table, will be sufficient to secure promotion back up to the Championship at Pride Park, so they can already taste the final-day champagne.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s 1-0 victory over Cambridge United may have been the game-winning goal that separates Bolton Wanderers and Peterborough United from automatic promotion. The seasoned attacker wrapped around the unlucky opposition goalkeeper to score a vital goal.


If the Rams do make it back to the second division from League One, they will realize they cannot afford to spend excessively as they have in the past because of this noteworthy failure, which is burning a hole in Derby’s wallet during a difficult time in the team’s recent past.

Derby days spent by Ikechi Anya

It’s safe to say Derby weren’t known for being a frugal team when it came to transfer activity through the door under former chairman Mel Morris.

The Rams heavily invested in the summer transfer window prior to the start of the 2016–17 campaign, paying an outrageous £8 million to get Matej Vydra and an additional £4 million for his former Watford teammate Ikechi Anya.

After signing, Anya must have thrilled Derby supporters with the thought of seeing him in a Derby uniform. A versatile player, Anya finished his career with the Hornets with eight goals and 24 assists.

The now-retired former Scotland international made just 38 appearances for the Rams over the course of four seasons before ending his playing career in 2020, therefore the move ultimately proved to be a huge failure.


When you consider that his outrageous salary at the time was 3.5 times greater than what homegrown Rams product Louie Sibley is currently making under Paul Warne, Derby was bleedin’ even more by their 5′ 6″ dud.

The pay of Ikechi Anya at Derby

As to Capology, Anya’s wage expenditures amounted to an astounding £5.8 million, which the Rams would never recoup for a player who scored just one goal.

The Scotsman earned £28k a week in his first season in Derbyshire, a wage he would keep for the rest of his miserable Rams tenure (with the exception of a small pay boost in 2019–20). That season, Anya was the third-highest earner at the club, behind only the aging Darren Bent and the previously mentioned Vydra.

Derby top earners – 2016/17 Season
1. Darren Bent £30k per week
2. Matej Vydra £30k per week
3. Ikechi Anya £28k per week
4. David Nugent £25k per week
5. Alex Pearce £25k per week
Sourced by Capology

The contrast between the highest earnings currently in Warne’s camp is astounding, with Conor Hourihane at the top with £12k per week—a sum that wouldn’t even scratch the top five.

In contrast to Anya’s current salary, Sibley receives a pitiful £8k a week, even though he was the catalyst for Mendez-Laing’s breakaway goal against Cambridge, winning the ball uncontested and playing the former Cardiff City player into space.


Sibley, who has seven goals and five assists in all competitions this season, will be begging for a raise if Derby plays in the Championship the next year.

Warne’s team want to gradually go up the step-up after almost failing to make it to the second tier the last time around, so there won’t be any irrational rises for the sake of it.



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