Derby County have set their sights on signing former Peterborough United playmaker Marcus Maddison on a free transfer, Football Insider understands.

The 26-year-old is currently without a club after his contract at the League One outfit came to an end this summer.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that a host of clubs, including Derby, MLS outfit FC Cincinnati and Belgian side Zulte Waregem are all keen on signing the former Newcastle United youngster for nothing.

The attacking midfielder was a standout performer for the Posh in his six-year stay at the club, with 154 goals and assists under his belt following his move from Gateshead in 2014.

He scored nine goals and chipped in with six assists for Peterborough during the first half of last season before he joined then-Championship side Hull City on loan in January for what chairman Darragh MacAnthony confirmed was a “six-figure” fee.

The Tigers, who were relegated to League One, have not taken up the opportunity to sign Maddison permanently after he netted once in seven games for the club.

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Now out of contract, Derby believe the versatile forward could make the step up to the Championship on a permanent basis and are considering tabling a contract offer this summer.

The Rams already have the likes of veteran star Wayne Rooney and young prospect Louie Sibley among their ranks as attacking midfielders.

Manager Phillip Cocu has made two new signings already this summer with centre-back Mike te Wierek and goalkeeper David Marshall through the door at Pride Park.

In other Derby County news, Noel Whelan has ripped into the Rams after Leeds United were handed an FA charge.