The majority of Championship side Derby County’s players still remain loyal to the cause at Pride Park and manager Wayne Rooney at this stage despite increasing uncertainty surrounding their futures, according to Daily Mirror reporter James Nursey.
Chris Kirchner is reported to be close to finalising a takeover of the East Midlands side – but the stadium is proving to be his final big hurdle at this stage with Mel Morris reportedly wanting £20m for Pride Park.
Without a deal for the stadium, a deal cannot go through and Kirchner has even said his deal is conditional on Morris no longer having any jurisdiction or control over the Rams’ home ground.
Quiz: Which club did Derby County sign these 24 players from in the 2000s?
The possibility of an alternative ground to play their home games at was explored as a potential option – but there have been no further updates on that subject at this stage – though a local businessman is thought to be engaging in talks regarding the potential purchase of the stadium.
Whilst a takeover is yet to be finalised, Rooney can’t tie down players to new deals and this is a real blow for the Rams who have several first-teamers out of contract at the end of the season, some of whom including Curtis Davies have reportedly attracted interest from elsewhere.
A number of players including Richard Stearman and Ryan Allsop have come out publicly and expressed their desire to remain at the club – and journalist Nursey is now reporting that is still the case despite several first-teamers’ deals expiring in under two months.
This is good news for the Rams who will want to keep most of their squad together considering how admirably they performed during the 2021/22 campaign, fighting bravely against adversity with off-field turmoil affecting their ability to remain afloat in the second tier.
They may have finished in 23rd place – but that is no disgrace considering they were deducted a total of 21 points and most other sides would have finished rock bottom – especially with how inexperienced their squad was by the end of the season.
Unfortunately for them, they won’t be able to seal another deal for Phil Jagielka who will remain at the bet365 Stadium after signing fresh terms recently, so they will need to find players who have the right attitude and will integrate into the first-team squad with ease.
They risk ruining their hard work and on-field feel-good factor if there are bad eggs in the dressing room, so although bringing in players that can take them back to the second tier will be important – they simply must have the right personality traits.
If they can keep the likes of Allsop, Davies, Nathan Byrne and others, that will allow Rooney to rebuild his squad around his existing team. And keeping some key first-teamers will be crucial to maintaining stability.