Derby County buyer Chris Kirchner is  given until Friday afternoon to show he can complete purchase

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Chris Kirchner, the buyer expected to take over Derby County has been given until Friday afternoon to come up with the money and prove he can close the deal.

Derby has been in administration for nine months and the American entrepreneur was appointed as preferred bidder in April. Kirchner was given conditional approval to buy the club in mid-May, with the EFL setting a deadline to complete the deal by the end of the month, but it is yet to conclude.

As reported by Sportsmail, at ‘multiple’ meetings in the last week he has been unable to deliver the funds, believed to be £22M in payments, to finalise the purchase causing parties involved in the deal to become concerned that it may not go ahead.

Doubts emerged about US businessman Chris Kirchner's attempts to buy crisis-torn Derby

Doubts emerged about US businessman Chris Kirchner’s attempts to buy crisis-torn Derby 

The joint administrators, Quantuma, have told Kirchner that while he remains in pole position for now, he has until 5pm on Friday to show he can complete the sale. After that he would lose his exclusivity in the process.

Kirchner’s team have consistently said they expect to reach financial close, and it has been suggested the transfer of funds has been hit by Bank Holidays in the US and UK last week, and delays related to money laundering checks.

On May 27, Kirchner tweeted ‘officially closing on Tuesday’ [May 31]. However, when that did not happen, Kirchner moved to allay fans’ concerns last Thursday [June 2].

‘Nothing to be alarmed about,’ he tweeted. ‘End of May was chosen because of scheduling for EFL… and everyone collectively didn’t think about the 3 combined bank holidays this week. 

However, reflecting the growing anxiety, the administrators have also said they will now ‘engage with other interested parties as a contingency measure’ ahead of the Friday evening deadline.

Derby County were relegated to League One last season following a 21-point deduction

Derby County were relegated to League One last season following a 21-point deduction

One interested party is former Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley, who has tracked Derby’s situation for months, but he is unlikely to make a move while Kirchner is still involved.

Ashley’s camp is believed to be furious at how the process has been handled and with the clock ticking down towards the start of the new season, every day counts.

A source close to the Ashley camp told Sportsmail; ‘[If the deal is not done on Friday]  then over the weekend nothing is going to happen.

‘It is a unhealthy position. They run the risk of the football club becoming extinct. Why would you do that?’

‘Mike Ashley is not going to talk to them until Chris Kirchner is out of the way. He should do the right thing and walk away. They should engage with people in a position to move forward. Time is so short.’

Former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is waiting in the wings if a deal is not completed

Former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is waiting in the wings if a deal is not completed

The Rams were relegated to League One last term as a result of a 21-point deduction, after going into administration and incurring other financial breaches.

The League One season will start on July 30, with pre-season matches due to begin in around four weeks. At present, Derby County only have five first team players under contract for next season, so they need to find players as well as sponsors.

Manager Wayne Rooney has been lauded for the job he has done managing the football team and the crisis. But he needs an owner in place to put a viable team on the pitch. 

The English Football League said it is ‘incredibly disappointed’ by the latest update and called for a resolution ‘as a matter of urgency’.

Kirchner and the joint administrators exchanged contracts on May 16

Derby County went into administration last year and it's been a long hard struggle to escape it

Derby County went into administration last year and it’s been a long hard struggle to escape it

‘At the time (of exchanging contracts) there were a number of outstanding issues, which have now been resolved,’ read a statement from the joint administrators

‘However, certain logistical issues mean that completion has still not taken place. Accordingly, the joint administrators have taken the decision to engage with other interested parties as a contingency measure.

‘The sale and purchase agreement with Mr Kirchner currently remains in place and Mr Kirchner has been given until 5pm on 10 June 2022 to provide satisfactory evidence to the administrators that he is in a position to complete, subject to EFL approval.’

Derby fans have stayed united but there is growing concern over delays in completing a deal

Derby fans have stayed united but there is growing concern over delays in completing a deal

While administrators Quantuma said there remains a ‘real willingness amongst all parties’ to conclude negotiations, the league expressed frustration at the protracted nature of proceedings.

‘The EFL is incredibly disappointed with this evening’s announcement by Derby County’s administrators that Chris Kirchner has failed to complete the purchase of the club,’ read an EFL statement.

‘It is imperative that this issue is resolved as a matter of urgency. ‘The league will continue to engage with Quantuma as they now hold discussions with third parties and will support as appropriate the club as it seeks to exit administration.’

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