Wayne Rooney will be able to add to his threadbare squad before the new Championship season begins next month
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Beleaguered Derby County will be able to bolster their squad before the new season starts – but it comes with a caveat.
Boss Wayne Rooney hasn’t been able to make any signings so far this summer.
The club have been operating under a transfer embargo and Rooney has been left with a skeleton squad.
The club have taken on a clutch of trialists, many of whom featured in the Rams’ pre-season match with Manchester United on Sunday.
But to be eligible for once the new season starts Derby must tie players down to fixed contracts. Under the terms of an EFL rule, clubs under embargo are only permitted to have a squad of 23 players of ‘professional standing’.
Phil Jagielka is one of the players on trial at Derby
However, the definition of professional standing is a single first-team appearance in a competitive game outside the EFL Trophy.
The confusion with Derby’s case surrounds an FA Cup tie last season when the club fielded a team made up entirely of youth players. That was due to a Covid outbreak among the senior squad.
Derby have argued that there was unique circumstances surrounding that aforementioned game against Chorley.
The BBC now claim that the EFL are willing to accept that this is the case and allow Rooney to add to his squad.
But the report says strict wage limits will be in place, which could hamper their efforts to bolster the roster.
Six players without a contract were involved in the friendly against United, including former skipper Curtis Davies and trialists such as Ravel Morrison and Phil Jagielka.
As per the arrangement of the embargo, free agents can only be handed a 12-month deal whilst loan signings are restricted to six months.
Derby are down to a handful of senior players ahead of their opening game, at home to Huddersfield on August 7.
Following the United game, Rooney spoke of his concern that he hadn’t yet been able to make a signing – and of his desire for an end to the off-field dramas.
“It’s a challenge,” Rooney said.
Rooney is poised for his first full season as a manager
“It’s not ideal and is something which I’m constantly aware of and am constantly trying to get answers.
“At the minute I’m still not getting what I want so I have to just focus on the players. I’m not 100 per cent sure of the ins and outs of it (takeover), so I just have to focus on the football.
“Something has to happen. It has to.”
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