Derby hit the jackpot signing a star who’s now worth more than Sibley

Paul Warne proved, once again at League One level this time with Derby County, that he’s a promotion specialist as a manager for teams wanting to break out of the third tier.

Amazingly, this most recent promotion success with the Rams – clinched with a final day win versus Carlisle United to secure that second golden automatic promotion spot – was Warne’s fourth such achievement on his glittering managerial CV, with three of those four coming with Rotherham United before taking over the reins at Pride Park.

There have been plenty of stars in Derbyshire this campaign who have played their part in the promoted Rams leaping back up the second tier, with experienced heads such as Sonny Bradley and James Collins showing their know-how in the division with top-drawer displays.

James-Collins-Menzez-Laing-Derby

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who is 32 years of age himself, has arguably been the best of the more seasoned bunch for Warne’s men with his transfer value rising subsequently, according to Football Transfers, even as he finds himself deep in the twilight years of his career.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s transfer to Derby

Joining on a free transfer in 2022 after his Sheffield Wednesday contract had expired, with the one-time Owls dud struggling at Hillsborough with just two goals and three assists registered from 18 games, the Rams took a punt on the 5 foot 11 winger coming good knowing it was risk-free to a degree with him coming in as a free agent.

His first campaign as an experienced option down the flanks for Warne’s men showed off Mendez-Laing’s class at the level in spurts, with the former Cardiff City man picking up eight goals and 11 assists in all competitions.

Nathaniel-Mendez-Laing-Derby

However, based on his second and more impactful season in 2023/24 playing a key role in Derby securing back up to the Championship, Mendez-Laing was only getting started when first introduced into the first-team ranks.

Now, the ageing forward will have a chance to strut his stuff again in the Championship and with a point to prove after exiting the division in 2022 after that aforementioned forgettable stint with the Owls.

Mendez-Laing’s season in numbers

Labelled as being “crucial” to his team’s promotion-chasing exploits by football journalist Jacob Hackett earlier in the campaign, Mendez-Laing has blown everyone’s expectations out of the water at Pride Park with how much of a talisman he has turned into.

After the full-time whistle was sounded against Carlisle, Mendez-Laing ended the season overall with a very impressive haul of 27 goal contributions from 50 games including this pivotal winner away at Cambridge United the match before the home showdown with the Cumbrians to effectively seal promotion.

 

The ex-Bluebirds attacker would also be given the captain’s armband for his side’s final six games in the third tier, taking in the ecstasy of promotion knowing that he was a key cog in Warne’s relentless machine with this polished Derby team managing to add yet another promotion to his loaded CV.

Warne didn’t splash the cash in order to put together the intimidating squad that was eventually assembled, however, utilising free buys such as Mendez-Laing to his advantage on top of further free transfers in the form of Curtis Nelson, Conor Hourihane and more who have been of equal importance to the success story as the former Wednesday winger has.

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These heroics for the Rams has seen Mendez-Laing’s transfer value rise unsurprisingly, according to Football Transfers, with the electric Derby number 11 now worth even more than Louie Sibley despite the homegrown product being ten years younger than his teammate.

Mendez-Laing’s transfer value in 2024

Once worth in the region of £1.7m back in 2018 when starring for Cardiff, Derby must still thank their lucky stars that they managed to pick up the standout 32-year-old on a free two years ago.

Now, after two excellent seasons back-to-back in his secure Derbyshire location, Mendez-Laing finds his valuation now stands at a pretty £775k which is more than what Peterborough United paid for him back in 2012 when signing from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the region of £258k.

Mendez-Laing’s transfer value through the years
May 2024 £775k
December 2023 £430k
July 2022 £258k
July 2018 £1.7m
January 2016 £86k
July 2012 £258k
Sourced by Football Transfers

 

Mendez-Laing was a new kid on the block at Posh 12 years ago – highly thought of in the Molineux youth set-up before moving on – yet with his career nearing its end soon, his valuation is now higher for Warne’s men than his early playing days.

The eight-time Guatemala international also now finds his worth higher than that of Louie Sibley in Warne’s camp currently, with the former Academy prospect turned regular first-teamer’s valuation standing at a lesser £602k.

This is despite Sibley coming up trumps in key moments for Warne’s men across the gruelling League One season as well, with the former Rotherham boss safe in the knowledge that both of them should be able to adjust to the tricky step-up a division without much difficulty.

Louie Sibley’s season in numbers

In and around Derby since 2010, through all the youth set-ups up to the bright lights of the men’s team, Sibley is living his boyhood dreams out playing for the Rams especially in a promotion-winning side.

The versatile 22-year-old, who can play down the wing or through the middle of park, would amass seven goals and five assists across all competitions with two of those five assists coming right at the end of the season when games became more tense and pressurised.

Louie-Sibley-Derby

Setting up Mendez-Laing for the crucial winner at the Abbey Stadium before the big clash on the final day, Sibley also managed to pop up with a goal against Stevenage in February when the tense contest looked set to finish as a stalemate.

Regardless, Sibley finds his worth all the way down at £602k, even with his value once sitting at an extortionate £5.9m when first being touted for big things at Pride Park back in 2021.

Paul-Warne-Derby-County
Warne will want both Mendez-Laing and Sibley to turn it up a notch moving into the Championship, using their fantastic individual campaigns in an unforgettable collective season as a platform to become even better in the second tier which could see their values rise higher and higher.

 

 

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