Rock bottom Derby County willing to let highest earner Tom Lawrence leave on free transfer in January as boss Wayne Rooney plots for life in League One after Rams deducted 21 points for financial breaches
- Derby reluctantly willing to allow captain Tom Lawrence to leave in January
- Cash-strapped Championship club want to save on his £37,000-a-week salary
- Swansea, Bournemouth, Stoke and West Brom have all expressed an interest
Derby County are reluctantly willing to allow captain Tom Lawrence to leave on a free transfer in January as they continue to cut costs.
Lawrence is one of Derby’s highest earners and they are willing to let him leave to save on his £37,000-a-week salary.
The Championship strugglers are hopeful of concluding takeover talks by the New Year but, with a further 21 points deducted for past financial breaches and going into administration, all plans are based on them being in League One next season.
Derby County are reluctantly willing to allow captain Tom Lawrence to leave on a free transfer
Swansea City, Bournemouth, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion have all expressed an interest in Wales international Lawrence, who has scored 28 goals in 146 appearances since joining from Leicester City in 2017.
Fans favourite Lawrence has been praised for his leadership qualities by manager Wayne Rooney who has utilised the midfielder in a number of positions.
Rooney said: ‘I feel Tom Lawrence has been very good as captain.
‘I wasn’t expecting him to be the biggest voice in the dressing room because people lead in different ways.
The Championship strugglers are hopeful of concluding takeover talks by the New Year
‘He could have scored more goals but his work ethic and the way he leads from the front has been excellent.’
Rooney will be hoping Lawrence can still making a telling contribution before any prospective departure as the Derby manager refuses to rule out survival in the Championship despite facing unprecedented odds: his side have now been reduced to minus three points, 18 points from safety.
‘Anything is possible,’ Rooney said. ‘There is a chance [of survival], but we also have to be realistic.
‘There is a big possibility that we will go into League One, we know that, and the good thing is that there should be no more [points deductions] and that is it.
‘I have to plan now for the future of this club – how we move forward, how we progress, whether that be in the Championship or League One – and in order to do that then it’s vital we get new owners in as soon as possible.
Wayne Rooney’s side are now 18 points from safety in the Championship
‘That is the only way in terms of how I can plan moving forward,’ he told Rams TV. ‘If that rumbles on and takes longer than we expect then it makes it impossible for me to put things in place.”
‘As disappointing as this is, we will be back better and stronger. I truly believe that, as long as we get the right people in,’ Rooney told RamsTV.
‘We need the right owners in who will care for the club, will be committed to the club, do the right things and we don’t leave ourselves in the situation we are in now.
‘It’s important we get the right people in. If we do that then I truly believe in myself and the staff, and I believe in the players we have.
‘I will be planning to make sure we get this club to a stable place first and then a place where we can challenge again.’