Derby County take Bent and Pearce on free transfers

Derby County have signed Darren Bent and Alex Pearce on free transfers.

Despite leading the race for promotion to the Premier League for significant portion of last season, the Rams fell away badly at the business end and even missed out on a playoff place on the final day. This resulted in the departure of manager Steve McClaren, who has subsequently been succeeded by Paul Clement, the former Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers, Paris Saint-German and Real Madrid coach.

He has begun planning for next term by bringing Bent and Pearce in on free transfers.

31-year-old Bent enjoyed a fine loan spell at the iPro Stadium after linking up with the club in January, scoring 12 goals in 17 games. The former England striker, who won the last of his 13 caps back in 2011, was released by Aston Villa when his contract expired on Monday, and he has wasted no time in securing a permanent move to Derby by agreeing a two-year contract with the club.

Pearce has spent the past 14 years at Reading having linked up with their youth team aged just 13 in 2001, and signed his first professional contract five years later. The Republic of Ireland defender, who has five caps for his country, went on to make a total of 216 appearances for the Royals, but his contract has expired which has allowed him to agree a three-year deal with the Rams.

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