CHIEF executive Sam Rush has confirmed Derby County’s desire to sign midfielder George Thorne, but has warned Rams fans they might need to be patient.
Thorne’s impact during his loan spell from West Bromwich Albion has made him one of the Rams’ top transfer targets this summer.
However, West Brom are currently without a manager following the dismissal of Pepe Mel, and this is likely to delay any decision over Thorne’s future.
But Derby have made their stance clear.
“I have spoken to West Brom about George and made it clear we think highly of him and would like to explore the possibility of bringing him here,” said Rush.
“Obviously, West Brom are in a slightly different position to us.
“They have not got a head coach and they have some changes they are undertaking.
“So, I would counsel patience but at the same time I would also confirm to fans we believe very much in George.
“We are delighted he enjoyed himself here during his loan spell and we know how well he did for us.
“Steve McClaren is a big admirer of George, so we will do out best to bring him to the club during the course of the summer.”
Thorne made a dozen appearances in the holding role in midfield for Derby – of which the Rams won nine.
The 21-year-old was also the Rams’ star man in the Championship play-off final.
Derby will look to sign Thorne in a permanent deal, and are quietly confident they will not be beaten to him by another Championship club.
Whoever is named as West Brom’s new boss must decide whether or not Thorne
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is a a part of the future at the Hawthorns.
He did sign a new three and a half year deal with the Baggies in January.
On the summer ahead, Rush said transfer targets have been identified but no signings are imminent.
“We have started discussions with clubs. We have a lot of spinning plates to deal with,” he added.
Rush expects new faces to arrive - and permanent signings before loans - but he adds: “The first thing to say generally is we have an extremely good squad and good set up, and we don’t want to make wild changes.
“I think history tells us that those teams who are successful but have just missed out on promotion take a calm and methodical approach.
“So it is a question of identifying in a sensible fashion where we can strengthen what is a young, aspirational and energetic squad.”
Derby would also like Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom and Chelsea forward to return on loan next season, but their clubs hold all the cards.
“The one thing you have to bear in mind about loans is you are not totally in control of the situation, you are not in control of your targets or the timing,” said Rush.
“So what I would like us to do first is work on permanent signings.
“We have got those in mind, we have got options in mind.
“We will do those and at the same time constantly look at the loan market as it evolves.
“The guys who have gone back [Wisdom and Bamford] may or may not be available for a couple of months.
“We have to make sure the loan market is a positive addition on top of what we do.
“Equally, we cannot be waiting for it.
“We must remember we didn’t get Wisdom until October, we didn’t get Bamford until January, and Thorne did not play his first game for us until March.
“If we can bring the same loan players back, fantastic.
“If we can’t, we need to make sure the loan signings are at least as strong.”