Derby County boss Wayne Rooney has revealed teams are putting contracts in front of some of his players whose terms at Pride Park are set to expire in the summer, making this admission to Derbyshire Live.
The Rams are currently the subject of a takeover attempt from Chris Kirchner after the US businessman was named the preferred bidder by the club’s administrators earlier this month.
However, this process is expected to take some time and with many key players’ contracts running out in just over two months, the East Midlands outfit are in grave danger of seeing a mass exodus in the summer.
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Captain Tom Lawrence is just one player currently out of contract in the summer and he was reported to be the subject of interest from AFC Bournemouth and Queens Park Rangers in January.
To give themselves the very best chance of remaining afloat in the division though, the Rams attempted to keep hold of some of their most prized assets instead of cashing in during the winter, but their relegation is now confirmed following their loss against QPR on Monday.
And there could be more bad news to come in the coming months with clubs already circling as they look to secure some free-agent bargains in the coming months.
On this subject, Rooney said: “With all the players, I can say 95% of the players in there I would want to keep but what I can’t do is tell them what the salary will be.
“The players who are out of contract, I know there are other clubs sniffing round them and putting salaries in front of them which unfortunately sometimes that is what it takes. At this minute we are not in a position where we can do that.
“I have spoke to the majority of them. That is the frustrating thing, they know I want them to stay and that’s all I can give them.”
As Rooney says, it must be a very frustrating situation to be in because as January showed, other clubs won’t show much sympathy for their situation and this could be costly when trying to tie players down in the coming months.
Looking at the situation realistically, the Rams won’t be able to compete with many others in terms of what salaries they will be offering and this has been made even worse by their drop down to the third tier.
However, Derby’s boss will only want those who are fully committed to the cause and although the signs are promising, actions are louder than words and that’s why it will be interesting to find out who actually does put pen to paper on fresh terms and who rejects the club’s advances.
In fairness, the first-team squad have shown real character this season and have clearly had the right attitude consistently, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if many of those out of contract including Curtis Davies, Nathan Byrne, Ryan Allsop and others extend their respective stays at Pride Park.
Barry Bannan’s decision to remain at Sheffield Wednesday should give the club hope that they can retain Lawrence, though they look set to face a real battle to retain his services.