City have completed the loan signing of striker Luke Plange from Crystal Palace until the end of the season.
Plange, who I was told was our number one striker target, joins after a spell in Belgium with RWD Molenbeek, for whom he appeared 15 times, scoring twice. Prior to his spell in Belgium, he was on loan in the Championship, turning out 27 times for Derby last season, bagging four goals.
Before we look at Plange, the move seemingly spells the end of Tashan Oakley-Boothe’s time with the Imps. Plange’s arrival takes our loan contingent to seven, but with Matty Virtue injured, we only have to choose five from six in the first-team squad. With Diamond, Rushworth, Boyes and Shodipo all involved this weekend, it stands to reason Plange will be the fifth man, signalling the end for Tashan.
Also, it is easy to criticise the recruitment team at times, but there should be some kudos for this capture. Plange was wanted by Charlton and Barnsley, as well as unnamed Championship clubs, a fight we’d be unlikely to win. By making the bold move to sell Tom Hopper, we sent the statement out to Plange he would be coming here to play, not to be a backup. That was risky – we could have finished the window very light, but it has come off, and credit where it is due; the decision makers should be applauded. It’s now up to the football side of the business to get the best out of the striker, who certainly has a decent record.
— Luke Plange (@lukeplange9) August 16, 2022
Plange started his career as a youth at Arsenal, joining the Gunners at eight. He progressed through the ranks but struggled to step up to Under 23 football, given the talent they’d stockpiled, so he moved to Derby to further his career. It was a move that worked – he scored on his full debut and netted another just a week later to help the Rams beat Stoke and make a good fist of the relegation battle. That alerted Palace, who paid a reported £1m for his services, then loaned him back to Derby, where he added a couple more goals.
“It’s always an honour to put on the No.9 shirt and I can’t wait to get going,” he told the club’s official site. “I’ve met the lads already and I’m ready to get straight into training and start preparing for the first game. I feel good and I’m ready to get started. I’ve seen a lot of young players progress at this club and I want to do as well as I can back in English football now. I’m a versatile forward who likes to run behind a lot, but I can also come in for the ball to feet. I can finish with my left or right foot, or with my head.”
Luke Plange was the hero with the winning goal on his full debut as we secured three points against Blackpool! 💫
Here's how the action unfolded 👇#DCFC
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) December 11, 2021
I can understand why people may feel permanent signings are better for the club’s future, but e made a couple of those last season, House and Kendall. If we adding more permanent strikers, we’d restrict the chances for those players going forward. I see Fleetwood signed Jayden Stockley and Jack Marriott, but they’re Football Manager signings; they’re names you know and think ‘they’re good signings’. At £6k or so a week and a couple of hundred thousand pounds a piece, they’re a risk, and not a ‘sell Tom Hopper’ style risk, but a fundamental risk for a sustainable club’s future.
It’s probably a sad statement that I feel I have to explain why we’ve not signed Jack Marriott or Jayden Stockley on a news piece about us signing an exciting young player on loan. I suppose people talk about experience, but nobody was overly bothered when Morgan Rogers or Brennan Johnson signed on loan did the business, were they? Or Tyler Walker? Even Morgan Whittaker had a decent impact here, and there’s no reason why Luke Plange won’t add a bit of excitement to our forward line.