When the summer transfer window opened up, a significant number of Ireland players were expected to be on the move.

Chief among them Jason Knight. The midfielder has been a regular fixture in Stephen Kenny's squads and teams since making his international debut two years ago.

But with Derby County relegated to League One after last season's turmoil, a fresh start was expected for the 21-year-old to bolster his development and he has been linked with clubs ranging from Burnley and Birmingham City to Werder Bremen in the last month, following past speculation that some Premier League clubs held an interest in him.

Derby interim manager Liam Rosenior recently told a press conference it would take "a massive offer" to prise the player away from Pride Park.

While time remains on the Dubliner's side to make a move to a Championship club or higher, Knight has been part of the Rams' plans thus far but has started the new League One season out of position at right-back in games against Charlton and Oxford.

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But if Knight were to move before the 1 September deadline day, what sort of club would suit his level in terms of future development and immediate game-time?

It was an issue ex-St Patrick's Athletic and Shelbourne midfielder Conan Byrne pondered on this week's RTÉ Soccer Podcast.

"I think he needs to start playing in his right position. I don't know if many people are going to be watching him playing at right-back and they'll be interested to know why he's playing at right-back and why he isn't playing in his natural position in central midfield," he said.

"I can understand why Patrick Vieira was after him (for Crystal Palace) because he reminds me a bit of Conor Gallagher, the way he gets around the pitch with his energy and work-rate.

"With Jason, there's not a lot of Premier division clubs that might look down at League One with a possibility of taking him from League One and starting him in the Premier League.

"That said, he did fantastically well in the Championship last season, (was) brilliant for Ireland. The game when he came on against Luxembourg, he completely changed it. He was magnificent and we all know his potential.

"But I think his next move would probably be a little stepping stone, a little bit like Josh Cullen."

Former West Ham academy product Cullen recently joined Burnley after following his former Anderlecht manager Vincent Kompany from Belgium to the English Championship.

"Josh Cullen has done really well at Burnley but that's not his level. I think we all can agree that he's going to be a Premier division player," said Byrne.

"And I think Jason Knight may have to do the same, go back up into the Championship, get a season or two under his belt and then move on again.

"Because if you're asking a Premier League manager to take in a player from League One - albeit he's just gone there - and no one has taken the plunge as yet, I don't think he's going to go straight into a starting 11 in the Premier League.

"So a stepping stone is probably the right course of action for Jason Knight now, nail down his central midfield position in that team and then hopefully like Josh Cullen, get a bigger move out of that."

Listen to the RTÉ Soccer podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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