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Cost 2.7m, now worth 85k: Derby County blundered with a shocking Lampard signing

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Derby County wants to take the second tier by storm under Paul Warne after being a big fish in a small pond in League One for far too long. They won’t be satisfied with just making up the numbers in the Championship next season.

Derby were often the team that came dangerously close to missing out on promotion to the Premier League before the Rams nearly went bankrupt and dropped all the way to the third division. Mel Morris’s extravagant spending nearly caused the team to fail until David Clowes took over.

Before Lampard’s team tragically lost at Wembley to an Aston Villa team that featured another Blues face in Tammy Abraham up top, Frank Lampard had put together an incredible team during the 2018–19 campaign that stunned Leeds United in a playoff semi-final. Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were playing for Derby on loan from Chelsea.

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Another name in the Pride Park camp at the time, Florian Jozefzoon was supposed to succeed and accomplish great things for the Rams, but he ended up being a bust despite having such high hopes while wearing Derby white.

The move of Florian Jozefzoon to Derby

After frequently wowing spectators at Brentford before transferring to the Rams in a big deal, Jozefzoon would ultimately become a victim of his own hype after relocating to Derbyshire.

Before making his disastrous transfer to Pride Park to play for the Bees, the eleven-time Suriname international would light up the Championship. In his final season in west London, he amassed seven goals and seven assists from 39 games.

The former Bees number seven would frequently have Brentford supporters jumping out of their seats with his daring goals, which included this stunning free kick against Burton Albion.

When Jozefzoon’s strong 2017–18 season ended, he had no shortage of suitors; Leeds United and the ultimately successful Derby were rumored to have expressed interest in the explosive forward.

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Derby would ultimately pay a premium price for the five-foot-eight forward, but Leeds is grateful that they did not rush into spending £2.75 million on a player who would ultimately fail to make an impact for the Rams.

Under Morris’s haphazard control as chairman, though, this was much too common; in the same transfer window, Derby paid an initial £3 million—which would later increase to £5 million due to add-ons—for former Peterborough United player Jack Marriott.

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He would perform significantly better than Jozefzoon, scoring 17 goals in the top half of the Rams’ 86 games, but the current Wrexham player would also eventually leave the team after losing his way toward the conclusion of his Derbyshire career.

Derby under Jozefzoon’s tenure

Before leaving for Chelsea, the massive Derby acquisition made 34 appearances for the former Rams manager during that postseason, contributing well to the project Lampard was leading at first.

Despite his unimpressive performance in those matches—two goals and one assist—Jozefzoon did not wow anyone. However, his performances were consistent enough to allay concerns about him becoming an instant bust.

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Things started to fall apart during his second season in Derby colors when Jozefzoon was unable to maintain a regular first-team berth under new manager Philip Cocu’s supervision apart from Lampard.

Despite having been a member of PSV Eindhoven’s first team under the Dutchman, he would frequently find himself out of the starting lineup. In the end, he would make just 14 appearances in the 2019–20 season and manage just one miserable assist to show for his troubles during this trying time in his Rams career.

It would turn out to be his last full season with Derby; he would travel on loan to Rotherham United for the 2020–21 season before permanently departing to play in France with US Quevilly–Rouen Métropole.

His new French employers would not have to pay any transfer fees for that move to the Ligue 2 team, as Derby burned up a lot of cash in the summer, having signed the dismal Rams winger for a costly £2.75 million.

With players like Sonny Bradley and others entering as free agents and going on to become promotion icons under Warne this year, Derby’s more adamant spending policy now truly reveals how much money they squandered on busts during this time period.

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