Phillip Cocu is trying to hijack Huddersfield’s bid for Everton midfielder Kieran Dowell, Sportsmail understands.
The new Derby manager is keen to add Dowell to his squad and although it looked like the 21-year-old was heading for the John Smith’s Stadium a late change of destination is in the pipeline.
Cocu is wasting no time shaping his team after succeeding Frank Lampard last week and despite being away on pre-season camp in Florida the Dutchman is well across transfer targets.
Dowell is a primary name on his list, with the England Under 21 international set to be allowed out on loan from Goodison Park.
Cocu is understood to enjoy a good relationship with Everton director of football Marcel Brands, who wants Dowell to progress his career at a Championship club playing the appropriate style.
Huddersfield, who have been working on a deal, appeared the solution but it now seems Derby have stolen in.
Dowell, who has been away with his country at this summer’s U21 European Championships, featuring against Romania and Croatia, helped Sheffield United to promotion last season and had a good spell at Nottingham Forest in 2017-18.
He is a creative midfielder who can push forwards, appealing to Cocu who must replenish that area of his team after losing Harry Wilson and Mason Mount back to their parent clubs.