The Rams have turned to former England coach McClaren after taking the decision to part with Nigel Clough's managerial services.
With a new man in the hot-seat, attention can now be turned back to the pursuit of fresh faces and precious Championship points.
It is felt that Derby are still short on numbers at the back, despite landing Zak Whitbread on a three-month deal from Leicester City, and they have already seen one approach for Keane rebuffed.
They may, however, return to the negotiating table, with chief executive Sam Rush telling the Derby Telegraph: "I think Michael Keane has more opportunity of coming to this club with Steve McClaren as head coach because of his relationship with Manchester United.
"That is one of the things we are looking to do with our current set-up, to have connections and relationships with top clubs. This is a key area to find a competitive advantage.
"The top clubs have massive squads and they are hoovering up young talent left, right and centre.
"If clubs can feel they want to place their best players with us, and feel they are going to be coached to a really high level, then they are going to be happy to place them with us."
Rush added on the search for defensive reinforcements: "We always have a list of players.
"We have only really had two centre-backs, and myself and Nigel talked on a regular basis about what would happen if one got injured. So we had a list of players and Zak Whitbread was on that list.
"I spoke to Darren Wassall once we appointed him as the interim coach on Sunday. I sat down and showed him the list myself and Nigel had been working on in terms of who we might bring in, and we brought Zak in."