Derby on verge of takeover by Erik Alonso – but announcement will be greeted with scepticism

Derby County insist the Championship club is on the verge of being sold to Spanish businessman Erik Alonso.

Alonso, the owner of No Limits Sports Limited, is understood to be closing in on a takeover, subject to Football League approval, after weeks of negotiations.

Derby abandoned their plans to sell the club to Bin Zayed International last month and now say they are on course to complete a deal with Alonso.

All the paperwork has been signed and is legally binding and if the EFL approves the takeover, sources claim Derby could have new owners by the end of next week. 

Derby’s statement read: “Derby County Football Club wishes to confirm that a definitive agreement to purchase the club has been reached with No Limits Sports Limited. The transaction, which is still subject to the EFL’s Owners and Directors Test approval, is expected to close in the near future.

“As agreed with No Limits Sports there will be no further comment until the transaction is complete. This is to ensure that all of the club’s focus will be on the Championship run-in.”

Alonso, 29, was previously an adviser to controversial Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri until earlier this year.

Derby County owner Mel Morris celebrates victory after the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off, Semi Final, Second Leg match at Elland Road, Leeds

Mel Morris has been trying to sell Derby for four years

Credit: Nick Potts/PA

At least two other parties have held talks with Mel Morris, the current Derby owner and chairman, but it appears Alonso is now in pole position to acquire the club. He has been in dialogue with Derby since last April.

Morris could stay on at Pride Park in an advisory capacity.

Alonso said in a statement: “It has undoubtedly been a difficult period both on and off the pitch for the club over the last two seasons and we recognise that all of the staff have been dedicated and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the club’s first-team and academy football operations were fulfilled.

“We are looking forward to working with Wayne Rooney and his team, and will do everything possible to support the club’s vision and ambition.

“We would like to thank Mel Morris and his team for their support in helping to facilitate a quick and smooth transaction.

“The sales and purchase agreement has been signed and we are now working with the EFL on the final stages of the EFL Owners and Directors Test.”

Derby are managed by England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney and are currently 18th in the table, eight points above the relegation zone.

Announcement will be greeted with understandable scepticism

Derby’s recent history has never been short of controversy or incident, yet throughout the turmoil has remained one constant: Mel Morris’s attempts to sell the club.

The East Midlands club has been on the market for over four years, and Morris has always maintained that he will move aside if the right people can be found.

When he scrapped negotiations with BZI in March, after nearly a year of talks, most Derby fans were relieved.

It is fair to say there will be some scepticism over the news concerning Alonso. 

Firstly, because of his past association with Sheffield Wednesday and secondly, because Derby have been here before. 

With the BZI deal there were countless deadlines missed, despite all the promises, so there will understandably be some concern over whether this latest takeover does go ahead. 

Sources insist EFL approval is the final hurdle to overcome, but it was not an issue for BZI despite their troubled history in buying football clubs. 

The questions from the EFL will undoubtedly centre on where the money for the takeover is coming from. 

However, Alonso is said to be enthusiastic and driven and deserves time and patience to revive Derby’s fortunes if the sale is completed.

Wayne Rooney has insisted his only focus is matters on the field, as he battles to avoid relegation from the Championship.

He has his transfer targets for this summer and a takeover would undoubtedly assist him, though there remain doubts over how much Derby can spend due to the financial rules.

The next few weeks will be crucial in whether Alonso completes the deal, and what his plans for the future hold.

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