Wayne Rooney provides update on future of Derby talisman Tom Lawrence amid takeover wait

Derby County are poised for a summer of change, with the club set to move into League One and the hope being that a takeover will also go through in the coming months.

The Rams have endured a testing campaign having been in administration since last September, operating under a transfer embargo and being handicapped by 21 points for two separate offences. It was always going to give Wayne Rooney’s side a mountain to climb as they looked to stay in the Championship and so it proved, with the side relegated with three matches to spare.

With the club’s fate now sealed, attentions are turning to what kind of squad Rooney will have to work with in the third tier next season.

He has previously said that he is committed to the club as long as a takeover gets rubber-stamped. American businessman Chris Kirchner is in the process of buying the stricken club, but his period of exclusivity ends on May 7.

A big concern for Derby fans is a mass departure in the summer, with club captain Tom Lawrence one of many whose contracts expire shortly. Rooney has now given an update on the possibility of keeping the 28-year-old at the club.

He said: “He (Lawrence) wants to be here but as we have said there are other clubs who are in for him and we have had open conversations about it. He wants to be here but obviously things have to be right and where we are now I can’t offer him anything.

Wayne Rooney says Tom Lawrence wants to stay at Derby next season

“I am really hopeful, and hoping he will be here next season along with a couple of the other lads who are getting heavily linked with other clubs. I think the great thing speaking to the players and having these open conversations with them, I can see how honest they are all being over it. There is a real maturity over how they are handling the situation, which I think is a credit to them.

“I know they want to be here, what we can’t afford to do is leave this club in the position it has been in. The players understand that. We need to make sure we do the right things to get the best squad we can get with the budget we are allowed.”

Rooney is acutely aware the clock is ticking when it comes to the takeover. And he is also wary of getting players to commit before they jet off for the summer.

Wales international Lawrence is Derby’s top scorer with 11 goals

He added: “I know the majority of the players I want to keep but ultimately we need the ownership to go through. It needs to happen quick because once you get to the end of the season and players go off on holidays etc. Really I want them in front of me before that to either offer them a new contract or tell them ‘thank you’ and maybe they have to go and look for another club.”

Derby’s penultimate match of the season sees them travel to Blackpool on Saturday.

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