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Chris Martin's new deal is so important to Derby County

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: September 01, 2014

CENTRE OF ATTENTION ... Chris Martin celebrates his goal against Ipswich.

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NEWS of Chris Martin's contract deflected attention away from what was a disjointed display by Derby County in their 1-1 draw against Ipswich Town.

The result and performance was not the way Derby wanted to enter the two-week international break, but hearing that Martin had agreed a four-year deal was a welcome filip.

Tieing down key players on long-term contracts topped Steve McClaren's list of priorities after the Rams went agonisingly close to winning promotion last season.

He wanted to keep the squad together for another promotion push this season.

Jeff Hendrick, Craig Forsyth, Will Hughes and now Martin have deals that run until 2018.

Jake Buxton's contract was extended to 2017 and Craig Bryson signed a new five-year deal to 2019.

McClaren admitted last week the club had received enquiries for some players.

Burnley showed interest in Richard Keogh, Bournemouth in Johnny Russell, apparently, while Bryson looked to be on his way to Burnley earlier this summer.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that clubs did not come knocking for Martin, and this at a time when other Championship strikers have moved for over-inflated fees.

Ross McCormack top scored in the Championship for Leeds United last season and moved to Fulham for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £11m.

Leonardo Ulloa, a key figure for Brighton last season, joined Leicester City for a club record £8m.

Leicester are also reported to be ready to splash out another £8m on Ipswich's David McGoldrick.

Given such fees, how much is Martin worth?

The 25-year-old has scored 31 goals in 71 matches for Derby – at a rate of one every 2.3 games – and has four in six starts this season.

He has been a cracking free transfer.

Martin is the club's number one striker, the focal point of the attack and absolutely pivotal to the way Derby play.

I still find it difficult to fathom how he was not the club's player of the year last season.

So why the seeming lack of interest from clubs? Maybe it is clear to everybody that Martin is very happy at Derby.

He was keen to find a "new home" following a number of loan spells at Luton, Crystal Palace, Swindon Town and with the Rams.

Martin has found that new home at Derby.

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