Wayne Rooney has been reassured star midfielder Tom Lawrence will not be sold to ease Derby’s cash crisis.
The 28-year-old is reported to have been the subject of a bid from the Rams’ Sky Bet Championship rivals Bournemouth, but Rooney was adamant on Friday that he would not be leaving, despite the club being in administration.
Rooney said: “I’m not really sure if there is a bid, but I’ve just come off the phone with the administrators and they have reassured me that Tom Lawrence won’t be going. That’s pleasing because he’s a player I want to keep.
“The administrators have said to me that any players leaving will come through me and they have reassured me now that Tom Lawrence won’t be leaving.
“Tom is the captain of this football club and is having a fantastic season. There’s no issue with me and Tom whatsoever.”
Rooney had no further updates regarding the club’s future or any news on a preferred bidder. On Thursday, the club’s administrators and the English Football League released a statement saying a month-long extension had been granted to the deadline to provide proof of funds.
Rooney said the claims of Middlesbrough and Wycombe remained a “stumbling block” to a sale being completed, even though it is understood at least two of the interested parties – the Carlisle Capital investment firm controlled by the US-based Binnie family and a group organised by General Sports Worldwide – have bid for the club in the full knowledge they could face extra liabilities arising from those claims.
Rooney said it was not for him to appeal to those clubs to drop their claims, but added: “I do think people really need to be sensible in this because I think it is getting a bit out of hand.”
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) January 28, 2022
The former England forward was asked about what could be done to close the financial chasm between the Premier League and the EFL.
The latter insist parachute payments to relegated clubs are having a distorting effect on the Championship and want them scrapped as part of a new settlement.
Rooney said: “In the last few years we’ve seen some very big football clubs put themselves financially in trouble and it needs to change.
“I’m sure the EFL and the Premier League are discussing the possible outcomes and how we can change to make sure clubs don’t allow themselves to get put in this position.
“You have clubs obviously who chase the dream of playing in the Premier League and financially it’s a huge gap. So if you gamble and you go for it and it doesn’t pay off, then you end up where we (Derby) are today.”
Local politicians are meeting with supporters’ groups, administrators and the EFL on Friday afternoon amid continued uncertainty surrounding the club’s future.
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