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Saturday, January 26, 2008
Derby become latest to attract takeover from US

An American consortium has successfully completed a takeover of Premier League basement club Derby.

Chairman Adam Pearson has been working on the multi-million deal since he took charge of the Rams at the end of October.

Negotiations have been in the balance, with Pearson unsure just a month ago as to whether a buy-out would take place or fall by the wayside.

But it is understood the group will take on the club's 25million debt, as well as provide boss Paul Jewell with significant funds in the summer.

It is widely anticipated Derby will be relegated this season as the club are currently 13 points adrift of safety, with only 15 matches remaining.

Derby have endured a torrid ride since returning to the top flight as they have won just one of their 23 league games this season.

The club are currently on course to break Sunderland's ignominious points total record of just 15 amassed at the end of the 2005-06 season, with the Rams claiming just seven points to date.

Jewell has at least strengthened his squad in the current transfer window, notably signing Robbie Savage from Blackburn for 1.5million and Argentinian striker Emanuel Villa for 2million.

But those captures, along with signing Laurent Robert on a short-term contract until the end of the season and a number of loan deals, have been more to stabilise the club at a rocky time.

It is not yet known how much money Jewell will have to invest come the summer when it is almost certain Derby will be staring at life back in the Coca-Cola Championship.

Nevertheless, when Jewell succeeded the sacked Billy Davies at the end of November, he appreciated his brief was more long term.

That is also the vision of the American investors, who are known to be involved with sports franchises in the United States where they have bases in Florida and California.

The group were previously involved in talks with a takeover of Manchester City, only to lose out to Thaksin Shinawatra.

Derby are now the fourth Premier League club in American hands, along with Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa.

The Rams have confirmed a press conference is to be held at Pride Park on Monday when 'a positive announcement' will be made on the club's future.

In a statement to be published in tomorrow's matchday programme for the FA Cup fourth round clash with Preston, Pearson said: 'This new investment will establish the Derby County brand worldwide through successful alliances with sporting teams in the USA, the far east and Africa.

'The key aim is to continue to build the infrastructure of the club at Pride Park and obviously develop a squad which is reknowned as a Premier League force. This will add new financial firepower to the squad.'

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