Conor Doyle has been at Derby County for three full seasons since signing for the Championship club in August, 2010 as an 18-year-old prospect. Now 20, the forward hasn't broken through as a regular member of the first team, and that has caused the club to push the young American in the direction of a six-month loan move to a Major League Soccer club.
Doyle trained with the Colorado Rapids for an undisclosed period of time during the month of June, and the latest news from the Daily Telegraph places Doyle once again in Colorado training with the Rapids.
The Telegraph states Derby County manager Nigel Clough's serious desire for Doyle to seal the six-month loan deal in order to get the kid some week-in, week-out minutes. Such a deal would run right up to the end of the 2013 MLS season.
“Conor is training full time with Colorado Rapids, which is good," Clough told the Daily Telegraph. "A six-month loan spell would do him the world of good. We just want to get him playing some games. If not in America, we will try and get him fixed up in England.”
A few problems, though: there is no guarantee that Doyle will be able to find minutes for a Rapids team with attackers, young and old, who are just now rounding into shape. Atiba Harris is having the season of his life, DeShorn Brown is a Rookie of the Year frontrunner, Tony Cascio just (finally) realized the season's actually started, and even Edson Buddle is starting to look lively. That's not even mentioning the likes of Kevin Harbottle, Jaime Castrillón and Martín Rivero, all of whom have played various spots across the front line of Oscar Pareja's 4-3-3.
Not a lot of room there for a short-term project.
Secondly, MLS has a long-standing policy of only taking players on loan if there's an option to buy (Rivero being an example). If Derby are stipulating a six-month loan only ... well, that's not particularly hard math to do.
And finally, Doyle is a former US youth international, which means he'd have to go through a weighted lottery if he was to come into the league, whether on a loan or permanent transfer.
In three seasons with Derby, Doyle has made just 22 first-team appearances for the Rams. A loan move to play regularly would obviously be good for the player, and Derby are the instigators in this case, so a temporary move somewhere is highly likely for Doyle. But "somewhere" may not end up being Colorado.
Would the Rapids be the obvious choice, given his time already spent training with the club? How about another fringe playoff team looking to add reinforcements for a playoff run?