Mel Morris prepared to make Derby County offer as key takeover talks continue

Former Derby County owner Mel Morris is prepared to offer a lease agreement for Pride Park as Chris Kirchner aims to get his takeover deal across the line.

According to Sky Sports, Morris is seeking £22m for the stadium but would be willing to lease the ground as Rams fans anxiously await a breakthrough in Kirchner’s bid to take control.

The issue surrounding the stadium is the major obstacle in Kirchner’s bid but the deal must be struck independently with Morris as Pride Park is not part of the administration process.

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Tonight, the club’s administrators confirmed that Kirchner’s period of exclusivity has been extended until May 14 in order for him to try to get the deal over the line. Negotiations are ongoing and Sky have reported that Morris would be willing to rent the ground.

They reported: “It is thought both Ashley and Kirchner have been frustrated by the delays in the takeover process. Had Derby been sold quickly after it first went into administration in September, the new owners could have made investments in the squad to try to avoid relegation, and also prevented the sale of some of Derby’s best young players which were sanctioned to help keep the club afloat.

“Sky Sports News has been told Morris wants £22m for the stadium to be bought outright, but is prepared to offer a lease agreement instead. While £22m is a fraction of what it would cost to build a stadium like Pride Park, without a viable football team in the City, the true value of the stadium is hugely diminished.”

In the aftermath of the administrators’ statement which confirmed Kirchner has been granted more time to complete the purchase, the American said: “As the press release from Quantuma said… we’ve extended our exclusivity period.

“Our focus now is on a few small contractual elements with the league and the purchase of the stadium. We are working to privately purchase the stadium in order to expedite the closure of this deal.

“That’s all I can share at this point out of respect for the process and parties involved, but my intention and expectation is to sign the agreement to purchase the club before the expiration of the exclusivity period.”

Is £22m a fair price for Pride Park? Let us know in the comments section.

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