Derby County striker Chris Martin has reportedly declined the first contract extension offer his employers put to the table.
The Scot’s contract expires in the coming summer months and, as a prolific, long-serving forward, Derby would prefer to keep him at Pride Park for the foreseeable future as they tabled a 12-month extension with a club option of a further year, according to The Athletic.
Should a deal be struck, it is likely to be on reduced terms as the 31-year-old is amongst the highest earner at the club – a wage which the Rams could struggle to sustain.
Martin – who boasts 10 goals and seven assists this season – is expected to continue playing for County beyond the end of his contract as a result of the Championship season being extended following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The 31-year-old has become a fan favourite for Derby County since joining in 2013 following a successful loan spell. Playing with his back to goal, Martin is often the linchpin of the Rams’ strike force as he is crucial in moving the ball and bringing his teammates into the attack.
Phillip Cocu has shown just how integral the striker is to the County set-up with his squad selection. Martin has started in five of the last eight league games and bagged a brace in Derby’s final match before the league’s suspension, a 3-0 home win over Blackburn Rovers.
Derby are being forced into an uncomfortable situation in which they ought to decide whether Martin or 33-year-old Tom Huddlestone is the most valuable asset for the Rams, as both demand a hefty wage.
Despite spending much of the 2019/20 campaign on the injury list, midfielder Huddlestone has proven himself to be the lifeblood of the side on the few occasions he has featured.
A knack for passing and controlling the game has seen the Englishman put in some stellar performances, most notably of which came in January when a sole goal from Chris Martin capitalised on Huddlestone’s terrific showing and knocked Premier League opposition Crystal Palace out of the FA Cup on their own turf.
Huddlestone does not offer much in the way of a sell-on value to the club at the age of 33, but a willingness on both sides to agree on a contract will likely see a renewed deal on the horizon that would ensure the midfielder’s future at Pride Park.