Derby tie up Johnny Russell on four-year deal

DERBY County have confirmed the signing of Dundee United striker Johnny Russell.
Johnny Russell is paraded by Derby County after signing a four-year deal. Picture: Andy ClarkeJohnny Russell is paraded by Derby County after signing a four-year deal. Picture: Andy Clarke
Johnny Russell is paraded by Derby County after signing a four-year deal. Picture: Andy Clarke

The in-demand frontman, 23, has signed a four-year contract with the Pride Park outfit after a fee of around £700,000 was agreed with Tannadice chairman Stephen Thompson last week.

Russell has become the Championship side’s third summer signing after Lee Grant of Burnley and Chris Martin from Norwich City put pen-to-paper back in May.

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The Scotland Under-21 international struck an impressive 20 goals in just 38 appearances last season and Derby boss Nigel Clough today claimed he was the number-one name on his summer shopping list.

Clough told the Rams’ official website: “We’re delighted to sign Johnny and his goal-scoring exploits north of the border are something we’ve been aware of for some time.

“He’s been prolific in the last few years and from what we’ve seen of him we believe he can transfer that form to the Championship.

“At 23 he is a player who’s only going to improve as well and we feel he’s the right type of player to complement the options and players we already have in attack.

“We’ve had some stiff competition from a number of clubs to get him here so it’s nice to come out on top and convince him Derby County is the best place for him.

“Johnny is an ambitious and hungry player and he shares our desire to be fighting it out for a top six spot next season and we’re pleased to have him on board.”

A product of Dundee United’s youth system, Russell made his first-team debut for United as a substitute in May 2007 in a 2-0 defeat to Falkirk.

He moved on loan to Forfar Athletic to gain first-team experience in August 2008 for five months and returned to United to score his first goal for the club in a 4-0 Scottish Cup win at East Stirling in January 2009.

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A loan spell for the 2009/10 season at Raith Rovers followed before Russell returned to Tayside to become a first-team regular for the Terrors.

He scored nine goals in 34 outings in 2010-11 before bagging 15 in 43 appearances during 2011/12, including a goal and two appearances in the Europa League, to set him up for an eye-catching 2012/13 campaign.

His 20 goals in 38 appearances could have read even better had he not suffered a broken leg in February, costing him two months of action.

The player took to his official Twitter account to thank his Arabs team-mates and the club’s supporters for their backing.

He posted: “Would like to thank everyone at dundee united who gave me the chance!!

“All the staff and especially all the fans who from day 1 ur support for me has been incredible and an absolute pleasure to play infront of!

“Really gonna miss the place been best 10 years of my life and met some great people!! Gonna miss all of the boys absolute legends.

“I wish united all the best in the future and im sure they will deliver will always keep an eye on them.

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“Would like to thank all the people closest to me who have been their for me!! My friends and my incredible family.

“Im absolutely delighted to sign for such a great club and cant wait for next season already!!”