Derby County's top five strangest transfers of the 2010s
 Abdoul Camara of Derby County celebrates after his free-kick was deflected in for his side's first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round replay match between Leicester City and Derby City at The King Power Stadium on February 8, 2017 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • Raul Albentosa

Spanish defender Raul Albentosa, standing at 6'4", was seen as a welcome addition to Derby County's defence when he signed for the Rams in January 2015. Derby were pushing for automatic promotion, and Albentosa was identified as the man to help solidify their defence. But all was not as it seemed.

The transfer itself was strange, as Derby actually fought off top flight opposition to secure his signature, paying an alleged £500,000 to bring him to Pride Park. Albentosa made his debut eight days later in a 2-0 win against Chesterfield, but then didn't feature again for the Rams again until almost two months later.

Rumours that Albentosa had forgotten his orthotic insoles filled social media, as fans sought to find answers as to why a player who had featured numerous times in the La Liga team of the month couldn't even make it into a faltering Derby side. The truth was, he struggled to get to grips with English culture, and never truly settled in England.

Albentosa went on to make just nine competitive appearances, even playing in Derby's 3-0 final day defeat to Reading, knocking them out of the play-off places. After the Reading game, Albentosa was never seen in a Derby shirt again, with new boss Paul Clement sending him on loan to Malaga before he left for Deportivo la Coruna permanently in the summer of 2016.

Albentosa has since played in Bulgaria and Romania, as well as in his native Spain.

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  • Abdoul Camara

Ask any Derby supporter about Abdoul Camara and they'll instantly reel off a rendition of his famous song, in which he's found in Calais at the side of the road in a Vauxhall Zafira. In truth, Camara's song had more action than the French attacker during his short stay at Pride Park.

Signed for a fee believed to be around £1.25million, Abdoul Camara joined in January 2016 to bring some extra emphasis to a Derby side pushing for automatic promotion. Camara had been in inspirational form in the first half of the season, helping French minnows Angers SC to push for a European place.

However, Camara rarely made an appearance, playing just 80 league minutes in his first half-season with the Rams. His fortunes didn't change the following season, starting just three league games and registering one assist.

Camara left Derby in 2017 on a free transfer, and later retired in 2018 at the age of just 28 after suffering from health problems. Things didn't quite work out, but he'll always have that freekick against Leicester City in the FA Cup to remember.

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  • Kalifa Cisse

Kalifa Cisse only made three league appearances for the Rams, but his first and only start was certainly a memorable one. In November 2013, Derby were left in a midfield crisis, as holding midfielder John Eustace was suspended, prompting manager Steve McClaren to draft in a temporary replacement.

This turned out to be a masterstroke as the replacement was Kalifa Cisse, who had only been training with the club for a few days. He signed for Derby on non-contract terms, and on the same day he made his Derby debut in a 3-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday. It isn't an exaggeration to say that Cisse's performance against Wednesday was one of the best individual performances by a Derby player in the history of Pride Park stadium.

However, despite an unbelievable debut and signing a two month contract a few days later, Cisse missed Derby's next match with an infected toe after collapsing and being rushed to hospital. He would go on to make just a couple more appearances, playing a combined 21 minutes before being released by the club.

Cisse's transfer was so strange purely because he came from nowhere, enjoyed arguably his greatest ever performance, then seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth.

In reality, Cisse went on to play for clubs in Thailand and Australia before announcing his retirement in 2019.

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  • Efe Ambrose

In 2019, Frank Lampard's Derby County had very little depth at centre back, with Richard Keogh and Fikayo Tomori being the only senior players in the squad who could play that position. This persuaded Lampard to draft in experienced defender Efe Ambrose.

Despite this, Ambrose never actually made it into a matchday squad, featuring twice for the U23s in his three month stint in the East Midlands. Ironically, when Derby actually needed Ambrose due to an injury inflicted to Tomori, he wasn't on the bench and midfielder George Evans filled in instead.

Ambrose was released at the end of the season without making a single senior appearance, but still claimed that he improved as a player whilst he was at Derby.

Ambrose went on to play for Livingston, where he still plays today.

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  • Ikechi Anya

Ikechi Anya is arguably one of the worst signings in Derby's history. Signed off the back of a number of strong Championship seasons and a short stint in the Premier League, Anya was supposed to take Derby to the next level. Signed for £4million alongside team-mate Matej Vydra, Anya joined an impressive front line containing Tom Ince, Andreas Weimann and Darren Bent.

However, Anya played just 26 games all season, scoring just one goal. This was a sign of things to come, with Anya making just nine appearances the following season. After the play-off semi-final defeat to Fulham in 2018, he never played for Derby again.

Anya featured sparingly for Derby's under 23 side over the next two years, but never made it into a single first team matchday squad. This was made even more shocking with the Scotsman reportedly earning £35,000 a week, making him Derby's highest earner at the time.

Despite his vast wages and lack of first team involvement, Anya lived in a hotel for his entire four year spell at Derby. He always turned up for training and never caused any issues behind the scenes, content to see out his contract at the club with minimal fuss.

He left Derby in 2020 and has not joined another club since, whilst also declining any attempts to contact or interview him. What a bizarre signing.

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  • Special mentions

Special mentions must be given to loan signings Leon Best, Tamas Priskin, Alberto Bueno, Shefki Kuqi, Brad Jones, Kevin Kilbane, Julien De Sart, Ben Hamer, Jamie Paterson, and of course Kieron Dowell.

Other special mentions go to Nick Blackman, Chris Weale and Kyle Macallister who were all incredibly strange in their own way.

Who do you think was Derby's strangest signing of the 2010s? Let us know in the comments.