The American businessman was widely expected to complete a takeover of the stricken East Midlands club but constant delays mean it is on the verge of collapsing
Prospective Derby County owner Chris Kirchner has given a terse update amid uncertainty over his takeover of the East Midlands side.
The American businessman revived his interest in the Rams a few months back but since then a series of deadlines have been continuously missed.
Fears have grown at the constant delays as well as Kirchner’s seeming inability to provide proof of funding. The English Football League (EFL) conditionally approved the takeover when contracts for the sale of the club had been exchanged on May 17 and then said they expected the purchase to be completed by May 31 – but that deadline came and went without any progress.
On Wednesday, Kirchner was approached by the BBC whilst playing golf in the LIV pro-am in Hertfordshire, alongside professionals Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter.
Kirchner gave a little away to the volley of questions, only saying: “It’ll all come out soon.”
It appears a deal for Kirchner to purchase the club is now effectively over, with reports suggesting administrators Quantuma are set to end the American’s period of exclusivity.
Amid the uncertainty, former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley continues to be linked with a bid to purchase the club. Ashley sold the Magpies for £ 305million to a Saudi consortium back in October, ending his 14-year premiership on Tyneside. According to the Daily Mail Ashley retains an interest in Derby.
Whoever ends up in charge of the club, they will face a race against time. Wayne Rooney’s side battled against the odds last season but a 21-point handicap proved too big a hurdle as they were relegated from the Championship. The League One season starts on July 30 – just over seven weeks’ time – whilst pre-season is expected to begin in late June leaving little wiggle room for Rooney to put together a competitive squad.
At present, he has just a handful of players contracted beyond this summer with plenty nearing the end of their current deals including Tom Lawrence and Ravel Morrison.
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Speaking in the aftermath of their relegation, Rooney revealed the vast majority of the squad had told him they wanted to stay put – although that possibility diminishes with each week that passes without a takeover going through.
“I can say 95 per cent of the players in there I would like to keep, but what I can not do is tell them what the salary will be,” Rooney said. “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.”
Last month a law firm heavily involved in the negotiations said the deal is among the “most complex” it has ever been privy to. David Hull, corporate partner at Squire Patton Boggs, said: “This is the most complex, high-stakes football transaction that we have advised on, with the separation of ownership of Pride Park from the club one of a number of issues to navigate in structuring the deal.
“The desire and co-operation of all stakeholders who are working hard to get this deal over the line will enable the club to move on and look ahead to next season and its long-term future.”