Former Wolverhampton Wanderers owner Steve Morgan is now out of the race to buy Championship side Derby County after withdrawing his interest, according to an update from Sky Sports.
The 69-year-old was one figure who was thought to be interested in stepping in after seeing Chris Kirchner fail to get a bid over the line by 5pm last Friday, a deadline for the American to get his takeover deal signed and sealed before his period of exclusivity was ended.
Although Mike Ashley has been identified as one of the favourites to take control of the East Midlands outfit after sustaining his interest in the Rams, a total of five parties are interested in taking the club off the administrators’ hands.
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Kirchner remains one of the favourites to seal a takeover deal with his funds currently the subject of money-laundering checks. If those funds are given the all-clear to be transferred, he could potentially put an end to this takeover saga after being given an extended period of time to try and finalise an agreement.
Andy Appleby, is another man looking to rescue the East Midlands side with his interest also being sustained, though he needs to ensure he has committed investors on his side before he can close in on a deal.
In a potential boost for other parties including Ashley and Appleby, Morgan has now pulled out of the race, though it remains unclear why the latter has taken that decision.
Although Morgan’s withdrawal from the race isn’t exactly good news for the Rams, the fact the period of exclusivity for Kirchner has been removed is a promising sign because it will provide multiple parties with the opportunity to strike a deal.
Kirchner may have a good relationship with Wayne Rooney – but the former shouldn’t be the only potential buyer who has a chance of taking control of the club considering his inability to get this deal over the line.
Although some would argue that this deal is currently being held up by factors out of his control, many Derby supporters will be unhappy that this takeover issue hasn’t been resolved considering he was given preferred bidder status back in the early stages of April.
Ashley may not have been a hugely popular figure at Newcastle – but he does have the experience of overseeing a club in England and would almost certainly be given clearance by the EFL to become the club’s new owner after being at the helm at Newcastle United for so long before cashing in last year.
At this point, the vast majority of Derby supporters would welcome Ashley with open arms on the condition that he injects enough money to keep the club afloat for the long term.