Graeme Shinnie is gearing up for his first season as a Derby County player in 2019-20.
A level of uncertainty currently surrounds Derby and their prospects for the upcoming campaign, considering the doubts regarding Frank Lampard ‘s future and the key loan players that are returning to their respective clubs.
That means it is difficult to determine how the side will fare next season.
However, the addition of Shinnie should certainly bode well for the Rams.
The Scot is 27 years old, so he should technically be experiencing his peak years. He will arrive from Aberdeen on a free transfer after the expiry of his contract at Pittodrie, having signed a pre-contract deal for three years at Pride Park.
But what exactly will he add, based on his final season in the Scottish Premiership?
The 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 formations were the two most favoured at Aberdeen during the 2018-19 campaign, with Shinnie regularly deployed as part of a central midfield pairing, plus the odd moment in offensive midfield.
He played 3,435 league minutes across 33 appearances, a minor ankle problem that resulted in him missing two matches his only injury issue.
The Dons captain was a virtual ever-present and his quality stems from the solid foundations in his game as somewhat of an all-rounder.
Shinnie is dynamic and assertive both with and without the ball, and this is captured to an extent by his underlying performance numbers.
There were 45 central midfielders in the Scottish Premiership this season that amassed more than 1,000 minutes. Shinnie was the only one to have averaged over 2.5 dribbles per 90 minutes, whilst also posting more than four interceptions per game.
This is evidence that he is a very modern midfielder, with an ability to contribute to all phases of play.
The Scottish midfielder did not offer a great deal in terms of scoring or assisting, having notched three goals and two assists – but he seems to influence everything beforehand. Also, despite his lack of scoring, he remains a technically clean player with a proficiency when striking the ball, as two of his three league goals came from outside the box.
Interestingly, Shinnie was the most fouled player in the division across the course of the season, with his figure of 97 topping the chart ahead of second-placed Lewis Ferguson with 90.
This offers an insight into his tricky nature, with opposing players forced into committing fouls in order to stop him from progressing with the ball.
The 27-year-old also engaged in the second-most defensive duels across the course of the campaign, with his figure of 351 bettered only by Livingston’s Declan Gallagher.
These records may partially stem from how many minutes Shinnie accumulated. Nevertheless, his inclination to be involved is undeniable.
Ultimately, considering Derby have lost Mason Mount back to parent club Chelsea, and there remains a squad void in central midfield that needs addressing, Shinnie looks an ideal addition.
He is less offensive-minded than Mount, but his game may be more complete, especially in a defensive sense.
He has the profile of a player who is capable of driving and inspiring his team on with his actions on the pitch, and when considering the youthful nature of Derby’s squad, as well as the forceful nature of the Championship, he may be exactly what the club require in the middle of the park.