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Derby hit the jackpot signing “excellent” ace for £0 who is now worth more than Sibley

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After defeating Leyton Orient 3-0 in League One play, Derby County must have been even more jubilant after the final whistle last time out, especially with Bolton Wanderers drawing and Peterborough United losing just behind them.

An early own goal by George Moncur gave the home team the lead, and Sonny Bradley, an unexpected hero in goal scoring, responded with two goals for the promotion-chasing Rams to guarantee his team won handily.

Due to the center-back’s two goals, Derby is now four points ahead of Bolton, their closest rivals for the final automatic promotion spot. However, if the Trotters win tonight at home against Shrewsbury and Paul Warne’s team is off, that lead may be reduced to just one point.

After leaving Luton Town for Derbyshire following their historic promotion to the Premier League, Bradley will be looking to put in more heroic performances as Derby’s main man in the middle of defense between now and the regular season’s conclusion at the end of this month.

Sonny-Bradley-Luton-Town

The record of Sonny Bradley at Luton

It would have been considered a coup for the division when the seasoned former Hatters behemoth signed on the dotted line at Pride Park last summer, with Bradley providing Luton with rock-solid defense throughout that promotion-winning campaign.

Bradley’s season-long injury troubles prevented him from playing more than 19 games for the Hatters, but the former Plymouth Argyle defender was so well-liked at Kenilworth Road that he was awarded the captain’s armband to wear when he did start.

The six-foot-five giant would make 175 appearances overall over five stellar seasons for Luton before moving down to League One to play for Warne’s team.

Although he scored six goals during his protracted stint at Luton, he was also prone to scoring a goal or two when playing for the Hatters, though he never quite succeeded in scoring two goals in a single match.

The days of Sonny Bradley at Derby

Bradley has quickly adapted to the setup at the third-tier promotion chasers, solidifying himself as a mainstay in Warne’s lineup that includes a number of seasoned veterans in the Rams’ ranks, like James Collins and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who have comparable experience to the former Hatters player.

After joining Derby as a free agent, the 32-year-old has made 39 appearances in all competitions to date and has shown to be an excellent investment.

In addition to Bradley’s two goals, the Derby number five was outstanding at the back to enable Warne’s team record a clean sheet and win their 26th game of the season. This made his outstanding performance against Orient a delight to watch from a Rams standpoint.

The composed 32-year-old would make four tackles and clearances in a row to ease any building pressure on Joe Wildsmith behind him, in addition to winning nine duels to neutralize Richie Wellens’ men coming forward.

Bradley’s numbers vs Leyton Orient
Minutes played 90
Goals 2
Tackles 2
Clearances 2
Duels won 9
Stats by Sofascore

Bradley’s response was ideal, considering he had to miss the three League One games prior to Orient due to a red card he received against Northampton Town. This outstanding performance after being added back to the club completely overshadowed his reckless incident.

Bradley’s trade worth has undoubtedly increased since joining Pride Park despite entering the building for free, despite the defender being in the latter stages of his career at 32.

Football Transfers reports that despite being ten years younger than his center-back colleague, the homegrown Rams prospect is now really valued more than Louie Sibley.

Derby-County-Squad

Sonny Bradley’s increased transfer value at Derby

Looking at how much he would cost now, Derby is grateful they didn’t have to pay a dime to get Bradley in the door last year. Bradley’s estimated value is now €0.9M (£769k).

Bradley is therefore more valuable than Sibley, who has a slightly lower price tag of €0.7M (£598k) despite playing a significant role in Derby’s recent promotion attempts.

Conor-Hourihane

The former Luton man even boasts a higher worth than fellow experienced teammates Collins and ex-Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane, both worth €0.4m (£341k) in contrast which is around £500k less than Bradley’s bumped-up valuation.

Derby’s most valued assets – 2023/24
1. Max Bird €2.1m (£1.7m)
2. Eiran Cashin €1.8m (£1.5m)
3. Ryan Nyambe €1.6m (£1.3m)
4. Curtis Nelson €1.2m (£1m)
5. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing €0.9m (£769k)
Sourced by Football Transfers

Sibley, Collins, and Hourihane are all nearing the end of their contracts, so Derby may bid farewell to all three players below Bradley’s value this summer. However, the prospective Championship team will undoubtedly want the former Luton player to stay on, with his contract remaining in effect until 2025.

Why Derby ought to hang onto Bradley

Bradley is the ideal player for Warne’s team to rely on to guide them toward the new challenge if Derby is to gain promotion to the second division.

Bradley has made 121 appearances at this level in his career. He even made two appearances for Luton in the play-offs during the 2021–2022 season, when former boss Nathan Jones lost against Huddersfield Town and ultimately failed to secure promotion the following season.

Building a team around Bradley’s skill set may be the best course of action for the Rams if they are serious about advancing and want to start when they have the chance to do so.

But before anyone with ties to Derby gets too excited, they still have to cross the finish line in order to advance to the second division.

paul-warne-derby-league-one

Warne’s team is very close to returning to the Championship after their upcoming matches against Carlisle United and the depressing Cambridge United. Bradley will have the opportunity to add yet another impressive achievement to his already impressive career resume.

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