Wayne Rooney faces battle to hang on to Derby County duo amid transfer interest

EXCLUSIVE: Derby’s relegation from the Championship has left boss Wayne Rooney with an uphill struggle to hang on to two of his key players with Bristol City ready to pounce

Wayne Rooney was appointed Derby manager in January 2021 following the sacking of Phillip CocuByJames Nursey

  • 17:12, 11 May 2022
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Wayne Rooney faces fresh headaches at Derby as rival clubs make moves for his stars after relegation to League One.

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Boss Rooney and Rams players are in limbo while they wait for the club’s protracted takeover to be finalised. Veteran stopper Curtis Davies, 37, is out of contract and one of several players being chased. Davies played every game this term and scored four goals for County who finished 23rd after being deducted 21 points.

He is open to staying but is attracting interest from old club Hull and Bristol City in the Championship. Davies previously skippered Hull and represented them from 2013 to 2017 including scoring in the 2014 FA Cup final. His leadership qualities have attracted interest from the Robins, where boss Nigel Pearson wants to build a stronger dressing room mentality.

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The south west club are also interested in 6ft 5in Oxford defender Elliott Moore, aged 25. Pearson has worked with Moore on two separate occasions with both Leicester and the Foxes’ sister club in Belgium, OH Leuven. At the Belgian club Pearson appointed Moore as captain before he joined the U’s in 2019 where he has gone on to make 124 appearances.

Championship interest in Davies comes as Derby administrators extended proposed new owner Chris Kirchner’s period of exclusivity until midnight on Saturday as the American battles to complete a deal. Kirchner, whose initial period of exclusivity expired at the weekend, is still keen to buy the club, which has been in administration since September.

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Experienced Derby defender Curtis Davies is a target for Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson

American businessman Kirchner remains Quantuma's preferred bidder but the fact that Derby's Pride Park is still owned by former owner Mel Morris has been a sticking point, with Derby City Council also working on a deal to buy the ground to help bring the Rams out of administration. Quantuma said most of the outstanding issues delaying the takeover had now been worked through with Kirchner and that they believed an agreement over the stadium was close.

A statement from Quantuma said: "We consider that matters can be resolved in a short period of time and are grateful for the assistance of all stakeholders relating to the stadium. It should be noted that the company that owns the stadium is not in administration and therefore out of our control. We have therefore extended the period of exclusivity to midnight on Saturday, 14 May." Derby were docked 21 points over the course of the season for going into administration and breaches of EFL financial rules, which contributed to the club being relegated from the Championship and into the third tier for the first time since 1986.

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