Derby takeover: Ex-Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon helped advise Erik Alonso

Derby officials believe that Spanish entrepreneur Erik Alonso has shown sufficient proof of funds to not only buy the club, but to also provide significant future investment; Alonso hopes to complete his takeover before the end of next week

Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon, pictured in 2009
Image: Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon, pictured in 2009

Derby County's prospective new owner, Erik Alonso, has been advised throughout his takeover attempt by former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon, Sky Sports News has learned.

Calderon has been the Alonso family lawyer for many years.

Sky Sports News has also been told that Alonso lodged proof of funds with the EFL last week, and hopes to complete his takeover before the end of next week - once League officials have sanctioned the purchase.

Pride Park, home of Derby County
Image: Derby are set to be bought by Spanish entrepreneur Erik Alonso

Derby officials believe that the Spanish entrepreneur has shown sufficient proof of funds to not only buy the club, but to also provide significant future investment.

It's emerged Alonso first made a bid to buy Derby nine months ago, long before current owner Mel Morris sanctioned a takeover deal with Alonso's rival, Sheikh Khaled and Derventio Holdings; that takeover collapsed last month.

Mel Morris (PA Images)
Image: Mel Morris has been looking to sell Derby for over two years

When Alonso thought a deal to buy Derby was dead, he made an unsuccessful bid to buy Sheffield Wednesday, before focussing again on Pride Park when the news broke of Derventio's failure.

The Alonso family have made their fortune in the hotel industry, and own a vineyard in the famous La Rioja region of Spain.

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Derby County manager Wayne Rooney before the Sky Bet Championship match at Oakwell, Barnsley. Picture date: Wednesday March 10, 2021 (PA)
Image: Derby manager Wayne Rooney has the backing of prospective new owner Alonso

Alonso - still only 29-years-old - has two degrees, one in business and one in sports management.

He plans to move his young family to England as soon as Covid restrictions will allow, so that he can run things at Pride Park first hand.

The key ambition of Alonso's No Limits Sports Limited - the company which will own Derby - is to help the club win promotion to the Premier League. We've been told improving the club's foreign scouting network, and attracting more international talent, is an important factor in his plan.

Who is Erik Alonso?

• Twenty-nine-year-old Spanish entrepreneur.
• Fluent in English and Spanish.
• Former Olympic boxer, who had five fights. He was quite famous in Spain at the time he was in the ring.
• Owner of No Limits Sports Limited - that will be the company that owns Derby County, if the EFL grants permission for the takeover.
• He has two degrees - in business, and sports management.
• Former advisor to Dejphon Chansiri at Sheffield Wednesday, but the two men fell out last year, and Alonso's bid of around £30m to buy the Yorkshire club was rejected two months ago.
• The Alonso family own several hotels and a vineyard in La Rioja.
• Former President of Real Madrid, Ramon Calderon, is Alonso's family lawyer and has advised him throughout this takeover.
• Taj Samal, a former investment banker, is also part of his senior management team.
• Alonso is married with an eight-year-old son, and he plans to move his family to the East Midlands as soon as coronavirus allows them to relocate.

What is the background to Alonso's bid to buy Derby?

• Alonso's initial bid to buy Derby County pre-dates the agreement owner Mel Morris signed with Sheikh Khaled's Derventio Holdings last November.
• Alonso turned his attentions to try to buy Sheffield Wed when he thought the deal at Pride Park was dead.
• When Derventio Holdings failed to complete the takeover, Alonso re-submitted his offer.
• Derby's officials are satisfied that Alonso has shown sufficient proof of funds to not only buy the club, but to move it forward with future investment.

How quickly might the takeover happen?

• Proof of funds paperwork was lodged with the EFL last week
• Much depends on how quickly the EFL lawyers can process the application, but it typically takes 10 working days.
• Once EFL approval is granted, it is likely to take up to 48 hours to complete the legal sale of the club.
• Alonso could be the new owner of Derby by the end of next week.

What do we know about Alonso's plans for Derby?

• Alonso is fully behind Wayne Rooney, wants to keep him on as manager, and the two have already discussed summer transfer plans.
• Alonso is keen that current owner Mel Morris stays on at the club in an advisory capacity, though there has so far been no formal discussion about his role
• The Spaniard wants to develop Derby's overseas scouting network, and increase the number of foreign players in the squad.
• Alonso tweeted last night to say the "good times will be back" at Derby.
• He is targeting promotion to the Premier League as a key ambition, and that's how he plans to re-coup on his initial investment.
• Alonso plans to move to England along with his wife and eight-year-old son, and he plans to run the club from here

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