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‘Unbelievable’ player who Rowett nearly signed for Derby County in 2017 is now a European champion

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Just now, a player Derby County missed out on in 2017 during Gary Rowett’s tenure as manager has won a European championship.

Paul Warne is working out plans to keep the Rams in the NFL next season, while Derby County is enjoying their promotion back to the Championship.

With the loss of six first-team players, including Golden Glove Award winner Joe Wildsmith, the Rams need to make major roster changes.

Owner David Clowes will provide the 51-year-old with the money to improve his team as he looks for quality in the market, unlike the previous season when he was unable to make any purchases.

Warne will be hunting for deals, having learned from their previous financial gaffes, such as spending £10 million on Krystian Bielik.

In recent years, Derby have grown accustomed to obtaining jewels, but they have also lost out on some, with one former Everton player eluding them.

Ademola Lookman almost secured a loan deal with Derby County from Everton.

During the 2017 summer transfer window, Derby made an effort to sign gifted forward Ademola Lookman from Everton for a season-long loan.

When Lookman joined the club in January 2017 for £7.5 million from Charlton Athletic, he was just 19 years old and limited to first-team opportunities on Merseyside. Of his eight appearances, only three were in the starting lineup.

Ademola Lookman of Atalanta during the UEFA Europa League final match between Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on ...

Gary Rowett, the manager of Derby at the time, has now disclosed how they believed they had secured the Nigerian on loan but were unsuccessful a few hours before the window closed.

Speaking in 2018, Rowett stated, “I spoke to the player and we’d agreed everything with Everton,” according to the Derby Telegraph.

I only bring up Lookman due of its extensive documentation. Red Bull is a very excellent club that is now in the top four of the Bundesliga, so you can see why the player and his agency want to move there. I believe that Sam Allardyce, the manager of Everton, stated that they would have preferred for the player to come to us.

“The German transfer window closed at 6 p.m. our time. At around 7 p.m., we were informed that Lookman’s transfer to RB Leipzig hadn’t happened on time, so there was still a chance. However, we later found out at 7:30 p.m. that it wasn’t going to happen.”

After bringing the gifted forward from Goodison on a permanent contract for £22.5 million a year later, RB Leipzig signed Lookman in January 2018 on a loan.

In the Europa League final, Ademola Lookman scores a hat-trick.

Lookman, a “unbelievable” 26-year-old, had stints at Premier League teams Fulham and Leicester City after the Rams painfully missed out on him. In August 2022, Serie A team Atalanta signed him.

With 30 goals and 16 assists in 76 games at Atalanta, the quick-footed forward always felt like a player ready to burst into action.

Lookman’s nine goals in Serie A last season helped his team qualify for the Champions League, but even more impressively, the former Everton player defeated Bayer Leverkusen with a hat-trick in the Europa League final, snapping the team’s 51-match winning streak under Xabi Alonso.

The gifted attacker’s six-year career has been somewhat eventful, leaving the Rams to ponder what could have been. He went from almost signing with Derby in 2017 to leading Atalanta to their first championship in 117 years.

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