Why George Tanner could be a good long-term signing for Derby County

According to the Manchester Evening News (h/t Derbyshire Live), Derby County have been credited with an interest in Man United academy prospect George Tanner, who is currently out on loan at Morecambe in the EFL League Two. 

The 20-year-old joined the Shrimps on a season-long loan deal this past summer but United are willing to get him off their books permanently during the mid-season trading period, given that Tanner is out of contract at Old Trafford in the summer of 2020. (Manchester Evening News h/t Derbyshire Live)

As per the report, the right-back’s unsettled contract scenario has put a number of Football League clubs on red alert. Championship sides Derby County and Blackburn Rovers have been linked with the highly-rated starlet while League One promotion-hopefuls Portsmouth, non-league outfit Salford City and MLS giants New York Red Bulls are also running the rule over the 20-year-old. 

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George Tanner has represented Man United at U-18, U-19 and U-23 levels (Getty Images)

Tanner has established himself as a regular fixture in the playing eleven at Morecambe in the fourth-tier this term, starting 21 fixtures in League Two and accumulating 27 appearances across all competitions for Derek Adams’ side. 

Born in Blackpool, George Tanner burst on to the scene for Man United’s U-18 side during the 2015-16 campaign, initially starting his career as a forward before being converted to an attack-minded full-back. 

The teenager clocked up 44 appearances for the U-18s and also featured in United’s UEFA Youth League campaigns in the subsequent seasons before making the transition to the U23s during the 2018-19 season. Tanner made 17 appearances at the Premier League 2 level the last term before joining Morecambe on loan to gain his first taste of senior experience.

Meanwhile, Derby County progressed to Round 4 of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Premier League opposition Crystal Palace away from home on Sunday, thanks to a solitary goal from Chris Martin. The surprise victory meant that the Rams continued their fine start to 2020, having previously won back-to-back league fixtures against Charlton Athletic and Barnsley. 

However, they are still languishing 17th in the Championship standings, eight points adrift of the playoff spots. Phillip Cocu must beef up his artillery in the January window ahead of a brutal second half of the campaign where fixtures are going to come thick and fast. 

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Tanner is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of the ongoing season (Getty Images)

Even with Wayne Rooney starting to make an immediate impact at Pride Park, Derby will have to improve massively if they are to mount an unlikely surge for the top-six. 

An upgrade on Kelle Roos and Ben Hamer between the sticks should be top of the Rams’ agenda during the January window while bolstering the attacking unit with some loan signings following the departure of Kieran Dowell and Jamie Paterson could also make sense. 

To put things into perspective, Derby County are currently not crying out for a new right-back at the moment but George Tanner looks like a fine young talent in the right age bracket who could possibly have a big role to play at Pride Park in the years to come. 

Highly-rated academy graduate Jayden Bogle continues to be a regular fixture for the Rams at right-back but Derby might find it very difficult to hold on to their prized asset amidst widespread interest from the Premier League clubs in the youngster’s services. 

As per The Telegraph, West Ham, Burnley, Brighton and Crystal Palace are all on the trail of the 19-year-old, who has progressed by leaps and bounds since playing a key role in Derby’s surge to the playoff finals in his breakthrough season under Frank Lampard in the Championship last term.

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George Tanner is currently out on loan at Morecambe in League Two (Getty Images)


Bogle’s departure would leave Andre Wisdom as the only specialist cover at right-back. Given that the former Liverpool man hasn’t been able to stake a claim for a regular starting role at Pride Park over the years, a young and promising right-back like Tanner certainly looks worth a punt for Cocu. 

Max Lowe, primarily a left-back by trade, has occasionally filled in at right-back this term but Tanner could be an excellent long-term replacement for Bogle, who seems destined to join a bigger club somewhere down the line. 

Plus, the 20-year-old is versatile enough to play as a full-back on either side while his past as an attacker means that he could also provide some valuable cover further up the pitch in the wide areas. 

Cocu’s arrival has had a positive influence on the development of academy prospects like Jason Knight, Max Bird, Lee Buchanan, Morgan Whittaker and Louie Sibley at Pride Park and the Dutchman could do something similar for George Tanner.

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All in all, Derby County beating off competition for the Man United academy starlet could pay off handsomely for them in the years to come.


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