Derby County: Chief executive Stephen Pearce says takeover 'absolutely going ahead'

Derby County chief executive Stephen Pearce (right) and owner Mel Morris
Stephen Pearce (right) was appointed Derby chief executive in August 2018

Derby County's takeover by the Derventio Holdings Group, owned by Sheikh Khaled, is "absolutely going ahead", says Rams CEO Stephen Pearce.

The deal was set to go through last month but the delay means players have not been paid their December wages.

Pearce insists no problems have been raised by either party and expects the takeover to be confirmed "imminently".

"It's just a case of that final bit of the transfer going through," he told BBC Radio Derby.

"There are absolutely no problems that have been raised by either Mel [Morris, Derby owner] as the seller or Derventio Holdings Group in relation to this deal."

Former England captain Wayne Rooney, who has been manager on an interim basis, is expected to be appointed to the role full-time, having won three and drawn four of nine matches since taking over after Phillip Cocu's dismissal.

Derby County caretaker boss Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney is set to follow former England team-mate Frank Lampard, who was handed his first full-time managerial role by Derby in 2018

Pearce said "the paperwork and legals" of the takeover are done, with the current and prospective new owners "almost running the club in tandem".

He added: "If we'd have known that it wasn't necessarily going to complete prior to Christmas then we would've put other plans in place to make sure that the players were paid in time.

"We're now working to make sure that is alleviated ASAP and it's our number one priority, aside from the transfer of ownership of the football club.

"It's not an ideal situation, I accept that completely, but these things are extremely complicated - they're not simple transactions to do, especially when you're doing through a pandemic."

Derby are in the Championship relegation zone on goal difference and were beaten by non-league Chorley in the FA Cup on Saturday after a coronavirus outbreak prevented their entire first-team squad, plus Rooney and his coaches, from being involved.

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