Derby County: EFL to allow Wayne Rooney's side to sign out-of-contract players

Derby players chase Jesse Lingard
Derby were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United in Sunday’s friendly

Derby will be allowed to sign out-of-contract players for the new season but any deals will have strict wage limits.

Manager Wayne Rooney had only nine senior players for Sunday’s pre-season defeat by Manchester United.

Five players were involved at Pride Park despite having no contract.

The EFL have accepted Derby’s view that it would be unfair to class academy players who featured in their FA Cup loss at Chorley last season as being of ‘professional standing’.

That is because they were only involved due to a coronavirus outbreak that prevented Rooney, his entire first-team squad and many under-23 players as well, from being involved.

It means the Rams will be able to bring their squad up to a 23-man limit in time for their opening Championship game against Huddersfield on 7 August.

However, the EFL board rejected a further request from the club to “relax an enhanced embargo that remains in place in respect of other regulation breaches”.

That is because the four separate reasons for Derby’s transfer embargo being imposed in the first place still remain. Until that situation changes, the embargo will stay.

Therefore detail of any contracts offered, which can only be for a single season, or half-a-year if the player joins on loan, will be closely monitored by the English Football League, who have imposed a salary limit for each individual.

In an interview with BBC Sport on 5 July, Derby chief executive Stephen Pearce said the club wanted to build bridges with the EFL and it is understood they remain in dialogue with them over the additional issues.


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