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Mike Ashley pulls out of proposed £25m Derby takeover and ‘looking at other clubs’

The former Newcastle United owner has been linked with a quick return to football but is now set to withdraw from the running to be the new owner of the Rams

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Mike Ashley has pulled out of the running to buy stricken Championship club Derby County.

The former Newcastle United owner was heavily linked with a move for the East Midlands side, who have been in administration since last September.

However, the Sun are now reporting that retail magnate Ashley has opted against attempting to buy Derby.

They say that he is now looking at the possibility of investing in other clubs instead.

It is understood that Ashley has been left angered by Derby’s administrators’ rejection of his initial proposal to buy the club. There is also a hint that the rising costs associated with getting a deal over the line have persuaded the 57-year-old to withdraw his interest. Ashley was said to have been willing to stump up an offer of £25m.

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Will Mike Ashley return to football? Let us know in the comments

Mike Ashley sold Newcastle back in October, after 14 years at the helm

The race to buy the stricken club took a tumultuous twist in December when American businessman Chris Kirchner withdrew his interest after months of talks with Quantuma.

Kirchner had visited Derby a number of times, even discussing his plans with manager Wayne Rooney. But he ended up pulling out and now Ashley looks set to follow suit.

Ashley ended his 14-year tenure of Newcastle last October when the North-East club were taken over by a Saudi-led consortium but he now appears set to bide his time before returning to football.

As for Derby, it continues the long wait for new owners after a number of botched takeovers over the past year.

Derby County fans last week protested against the ongoing mess off-the-field at their club

The Rams are in a woeful financial position and January saw them lose a clutch of players at both ends of the experience scale.

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Phil Jagielka, Graeme Shinnie and David Marshall all departed whilst talented youngsters Omari Kellyman, Dylan Williams and Luke Plange were also sold off, although the latter returned to County on loan.

Despite all the troubles he has encountered, Rooney recently showed his commitment to Derby by rebuffing an offer of an interview for the vacant managerial post at his old club Everton.

Wayne Rooney has confirmed his commitment to Derby County

Speaking about his desire to stay and help Derby try and overturn a whopping 21-point deduction, Rooney said: “I have been here now for over three years as player and manager and you build relationships up with players, first of all as team-mates, then as manager, and with staff.

“Everything I am asking of those players in terms of hard work, honesty, trust, commitment…if I was just to turn round and say “I have had an offer, I’m off”, I honestly couldn’t do that to the players and the staff.

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“I could see once Benitez was sacked and my name was getting linked with Everton that the staff were down and they were scared that if I left, where did that leave the club.

“I know they have been looking to me to try and help rebuild this club.

“I spoke to the staff and said: “I am stood in front of you and I am with you. Whatever is being said out there, I am with you. I think that was big for them.”

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