The former Newcastle United owner was previously thought to be keen on taking control of the East Midlands outfit alone following their fall into administration – and the 57-year-old was even seeking an agreement with Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson regarding a dispute between Boro and the Rams earlier this year.
However, American businessman Kirchner was chosen as preferred bidder by Derby’s administrators in the early stages of April, giving him a period of exclusivity to complete a takeover deal for Wayne Rooney’s side.
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With this, Ashley is thought to have launched an audacious bid to become Kirchner’s partner as co-owner of the Rams, a proposal that was rejected by the latter according to this latest update from reporter Nixon.
Although a takeover deal is yet to be announced, this agreement has been all but sealed with an announcement expected imminently with Kirchner seemingly getting over the final hurdle of concluding a deal for Pride Park.
The third-tier outfit’s home patch is currently owned by Mel Morris and though an impasse in talks previously appeared regarding the purchase of the ground, that issue seems to have been overcome.
This will enable Kirchner to take the reins imminently, potentially leaving Ashley to conclude a deal for another side after selling his stake in Newcastle last year.
This potential deal may not have been the worst outcome for Derby – because Ashley was a reasonably reliable owner of the Magpies during his tenure at St James’ Park and would have provided a layer of protection to prevent the club from going into administration.
He may have made some poor decisions at St James’ Park but he did help to keep the Tyneside outfit afloat and if that reliability and Kirchner’s plans had been combined, it may have been a success for the third-tier side.
However, Kirchner and Ashley may have had different views on many key issues at the club and this may have caused a rift at the top of the club, the last thing the Rams need following a year of considerable off-field turmoil.
This is one reason why some Derby supporters will be relieved that Ashley isn’t on board and their current preferred bidder seems to be financially responsible, the most important thing at this stage following their fall into administration.
The US businessman may be inexperienced and because of that, he’s likely to make mistakes. But he seems to have good intentions and doesn’t seem to want to overspend, so it’s a promising sign for the East Midlands club and they will be hoping this takeover deal is sealed as quickly as possible.