A senior member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family, Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan has reportedly been in talks to take over ownership of England’s Derby County Football Club.
The cousin of Manchester City‘s owner Sheikh Mansour, Sheikh Khalid has been partaking in advanced talks with Derby County’s current owner Mel Morris (also referred to as the Rams) to take over ownership of the Championship club, where the English Football League (EFL) are said to be close to approving the deal. Derby County currently competes in the EFL’s Sky Bet Championship, the second-highest system in English football, sitting behind the world-renowned Premier League. Morris has been looking for investment in the club, who are currently sitting in 22nd place and are struggling in the Sky Bet Championship, at risk of relegation. If the deal between Sheikh Khalid and Derby County is successful, businessman Morris, who is said to be asking for about £60 million for the club, is expected to step back from his role as chairman.
Sheikh Khalid has previously expressed interest in taking ownership of other football clubs, prior to approaching the EFL and asking permission to buy Derby County. The Abu Dhabi royal twice failed in his efforts to take ownership of Premier League clubs Liverpool and Newcastle United. Sheikh Khalid is named as the man behind Derventio Holdings (UK) Ltd, a company which was set up in September in the hope of attempting to secure a takeover of the Rams.
Derby County is currently home to football ace Wayne Rooney, who captains the team in the player-coach role. Rooney joined the club in January 2020, marking his return to English football after playing for DC United, the Washington-based team in the United States from 2018 to 2020. One of the most prolific and talented players in England, 35-year-old Manchester United alum, Rooney is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of his generation.