“Need to be spending it elsewhere” – Derby County told to avoid £900k goalkeeper transfer

This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Terrace Talk’ series, which provides personal opinions from our FLW Fan Pundits regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Derby County are set to enter the race to sign Rotherham United goalkeeper Viktor Johansson.

According to Alan Nixon, the Rams could be preparing a potential offer for the shot-stopper as they prepare for life back in the Championship.

Paul Warne guided the team to a second-placed finish in League One this season, earning them a return to the second tier at the second attempt.

Johansson is attracting interest elsewhere, with Stoke City and Sheffield United also reportedly keen on the Swede, as well as Leeds United.

It has been claimed that the 25-year-old has a release clause in his contract worth £900,000 due to the fact that Rotherham were relegated to League One, which could mean a potential bargain for someone in the EFL.

Derby County should prioritise Joe Wildsmith contract over Viktor Johansson transfer

Joe Wildsmith

Despite their interest in Johansson, FLW’s Derby fan pundit Shaun Woodward believes the club should be prioritising a deal to keep Joe Wildsmith at the club beyond this season instead.

Wildsmith won League One’s Golden Glove award with the Rams this term, keeping 20 clean sheets in the process, but is out of contract next month.

“I watched quite a bit of Viktor Johansson at Rotherham this season, and he was obviously quality for them, he had a lot to do because they were terrible,” Woodward told Football League World.

“But, personally, if we had £900,000, I think we need to be spending it elsewhere. We’ve got two very good ‘keepers already – Joe Wildsmith got the Golden Glove, so if he wants to re-sign for us, we can’t be going out and buying another goalkeeper to replace him.

“If he doesn’t sign for us, then by all means go after Viktor, but if Joe Wildsmith wants to stay then he should be first-choice, especially after what he did last season.

“I wouldn’t be looking to get a goalkeeper if we have £1 million to spend.”

 

Viktor Johansson has plenty of Championship experience

Johansson has been a key player for the Millers over the last four seasons, having signed for the club from Leicester City in the summer of 2020.

He has earned plenty of Championship experience in that time, competing in the second division across three campaigns, and in that time he has earned a lot of plaudits for his performances despite Rotherham suffering relegation to League One this year.

Viktor Johansson’s Rotherham United Stats (per Fbref.com)
Season Appearances (Starts) Goals Conceded (Clean Sheets)
2020-21 21 23 (4)
2021-22 26 22 (11)
2022-23 43 56 (13)
2023-24 45 (44) 85 (5)

 

A return straight back to the Championship could be on the cards, with at least four second tier sides circling ahead of the summer window opening.

Derby will be hoping to build a team capable of remaining in the Championship, having earned automatic promotion from League One at the second attempt.

Viktor Johansson will get a Championship move – even if it’s not to Derby County

Championship - Rotherham United v Nottingham Forest

While Derby supporters may prefer if the club prioritises keeping Wildsmith, Johansson would still be a promising alternative.

The Swede has performed well in the Championship, and has plenty of experience at this level.

While £900,000 may seem like a lot, and could perhaps be better spent elsewhere, this would still be a strong addition if Wildsmith doesn’t renew his stay at Pride Park.

However, a move to Stoke or Sheffield United would make more sense given how important Wildsmith was to Warne’s side last year, and he probably deserves the chance to lead the Rams from in-between the sticks for the 2024-25 season.

 

 

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