Derby County have always attracted the headlines such is the size of the club, but the last few months have been incredible even for their standards.
After sacking Phillip Cocu in November with the club bottom of the Championship, legendary England attacker Wayne Rooney was put in charge by the board in an attempt to try and arrest the slump.
Around the same time a takeover bid for the club came in from Derventio Holdings – a company led by Abu Dhabi Royal Family member Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed al Nahyan – cousin of Man City’s oil-rich owner Sheikh Mansour.
But two months down the line, no takeover has been completed and week-by-week as confirmation fails to come in, uncertainty around the club’s finances begin to grow – with players not being fully-paid for last month and administration being ‘a real threat’ according to John Percy.
It’s also ruined the January transfer plans for Rooney, who is now the permanent Derby manager and has hung his boots up to concentrate on his new role.
Derby clearly need fresh faces to pull them out of relegation danger but it may not be possible without a few player sales as the takeover saga rumbles on – let’s look at two things that County DON’T want to happen between now and February 1.
Bids for Jason Knight and Louie Sibley
Rooney has played down reports that any first-team players will need to be sold to address County’s current monetary issues, but there is continued speculation that bigger clubs are circling around star teenagers Knight and Sibley.
It is Ireland international Knight that is holding the most interest in the gossip columns, with West Ham, Crystal Palace and Burnley all monitoring the 19-year-old.
Sibley meanwhile hasn’t hit the heights of his purple patch in the 2019/20 season, but he’s still a precocious talent and has been a previous target of Leeds United.
Whether anyone comes in with an official bid for either player remains to be seen, but Derby will be hoping that they won’t be forced into a sale before the window shuts.
The proposed takeover to still not be completed
And that may all rest on what happens with Sheikh Khaled’s takeover, which STILL hasn’t been finalised.
The reputable John Percy told fans on January 10 that he was assured it would be completed ‘this week’ – nine days later there is still nothing to report.
It’s becoming a massive concern to fans, especially with the threat of administration and a transfer embargo over the club’s head due to the unpaid wages – not that there is any money to spend on new players right now anyway.
Rooney did reveal he has a ‘Plan B‘ in terms of transfers if the takeover isn’t done before the end of the window, but he will be hoping it doesn’t come to that – although you wouldn’t bet against it considering how many delays there has been.