Former Derby County player and coach Eric Steele discussed all of the latest Rams news on the most recent edition of the BBC’s Sportscene Podcast and he spent some time talking about the future of Derby midfielder Jason Knight during the show.
It may be fair to say that the 19-year-old has played a key role for the East Midlands club this term, as he’s made more Championship appearances than any other Derby County player, scoring two league goals, which makes him the Rams’ joint-second-highest scorer in England’s second-tier.
The Republic of Ireland international, who has played several different roles for Derby County this season, has also drawn more fouls-per-game (2.1) than any other Rams player in the Championship this term.
With all of this in mind, perhaps it’s not a major surprise that the midfielder has reportedly attracted interest from the Premier League, with Burnley, under their new ownership ALK Capital, linked with a move for the teenager.
While discussing this alleged interest in Knight during this podcast, Steele declared that the Rams will “without a doubt” want to keep him, before raving over the player’s ability, saying: “Without a doubt you’d want to keep him, he’s been one of our most consistent performers.
“He’s showing his versatility; if you look where he was a year ago, he benefitted greatly from playing alongside and training with Wayne Rooney, so Wayne Rooney knows what he’s giving to the team. He’s the legs that we’ve got in the middle of the park and I don’t think Wayne would want to upset the balance.
“You don’t want to lose one of your best players and Jason Knight, surely, I think would want to stay with the club. He’s got a great future. I think it’s a bit early, I think he’ll want to continue.”
When pushed by presenter Chris Coles to name what transfer fee the Rams could receive if they were to sell Knight, Steele shared that he thinks Derby could command £10m for the 19-year-old ex-Cabinteely man, which wouldn’t be far off Derby’s record transfer fee received, £10.98m, which Burnley paid to take Matej Vydra from Pride Park.
Steele said: “You come up with £10m… give us £10m and then loan him back, that’s a good deal for Derby.”
Is Knight worth £10m?
TIF Thoughts on what Steele had to say about Knight…
It may be understandable why Steele rates the Irishman so highly, given that he has played such a prominent role for the East Midlands club this term, at such a young age.
Additionally, given that Burnley have paid Derby over £10m twice before, when they signed Vydra and when they signed Knight’s compatriot Jeff Hendrick, perhaps it wouldn’t be a massive surprise if they were to spend that kind of money on this Rams prospect as well if they view him in a similar light to those players.
So, we feel that Steele may not be too far wide of the mark with his claim and it will be interesting to see how this particular transfer story develops as we get deeper into the January transfer window.