Derby County are reportedly set to receive a ‘formal £50m offer’ from former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to buy the club.
The Telegraph reported yesterday that Ashley was ‘preparing the largest bid so far’ for Derby’s administrators Quantuma after advanced talks between the two parties in the last 48 hours.
The Telegraph also reported that Ashley is attempting to buy Pride Park which remains under the ownership of Mel Morris should the takeover prove successful.
This comes after a consortium led by former Derby owner Andy Appleby also made it clear that they were ‘ready to take over’ the club earlier this week.
News of Mike Ashley’s bid came after Wayne Rooney revealed in his pre-match press conference that he was able to re-sign players and were ‘close to bring a player in’.
Rooney told media: “I think the preferred bidder is any time now to get announced. Once that does, I am sure that will give a boost to everyone at the club, to the fans.”
However, it does appear Rooney is still in the dark over who might be the new owner: “I don’t know if that is off the administrators or the new owners who are coming in. I just want to make sure my squad is in place.”
It’s a step in the right direction for Derby as it seems the takeover could be wrapped up soon.
If Rooney is able to sign players once again, you could probably assume that either Mike Ashley or Andy Appleby have given the go ahead to the administrators to allow some movement in the squad.
As for whether Mike Ashley or Andy Appleby are to be the new owners, both have experience of owning football clubs and neither are deterred by Derby’s debts.
You can understand Derby’s fans reluctance to get excited about Mike Ashley but his experience of rescuing businesses as well as wealth might well put him ahead of Andy Appleby.
Whoever is chosen though has a huge task ahead but it will draw a line under a saga that has been going on for almost two years.