December 7, 2022

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Derby owner Mel Morris warned he is ‘wasting his time’ with prospective buyer Erik Alonso

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Derby owner Mel Morris has been warned he is wasting his time with Erik Alonso after the prospective buyer allegedly said he had no access to funds because his bank account had been frozen.

Sportsmail understand the EFL asked the Spanish businessman to deposit £35million in a holding escrow account before they were able to approve the takeover of the Championship club.

But sources say that Alonso has claimed his account was locked by Spanish tax authorities, who were investigating the £65million he had apparently used as proof of funds after the EFL contacted them as part of their owners and directors checks.

The Derby County takeover is in serious doubt after claims the prospective owner Erik Alonso (above) is attempting to refinance Pride Park in a bid to fund the deal, which Alonso denied

It has left a confused picture as to what money Alonso has available to him.

One source said: ‘We suspect he does not have any money and is trying to leverage the buyout against the club. This would destroy the club, it is crazy.

‘It is frightening to see the media coverage of Alonso as a boxing champion and of him being well connected in football – this is not what we understand.

‘Mel Morris has been told he has made a mistake and is wasting his time. This cannot be allowed to happen, either to Derby or other clubs in the future.’

Derby owner Mel Morris (pictured above) bought Pride Park in 2018, but Sportsmail understands the deal with Alonso includes transfer of it to his company, No Limits Sports Ltd

Derby owner Mel Morris (pictured above) bought Pride Park in 2018, but Sportsmail understands the deal with Alonso includes transfer of it to his company, No Limits Sports Ltd

Derby owner Mel Morris (pictured above) bought Pride Park in 2018, but Sportsmail understands the deal with Alonso includes transfer of it to his company, No Limits Sports Ltd

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Sportsmail reported yesterday that the 29-year-old has tried to secure a loan against Pride Park as he attempts to complete the deal, which is in serious doubt, and we can now reveal further details which have led to concerns surrounding the viability of the takeover.

The deal agreed last month meant Alonso needed to pay £2.5m to Morris on signature, plus a further £2.5m in one year’s time.

Alonso also had to take on club debts of around £40m. Crucially, £17.5m of that is owed to MSD UK Holdings Limited – a US-funded investment group – and the loan is guaranteed by Morris against assets such as Pride Park, which he owns.

However, Sportsmail are told Alonso did not want to offer a personal guarantee for the MSD debt, and instead attempted to secure a separate loan facility of £20m against Pride Park and other club assets.

There are questions over what funds Alonso has available and if he can finance a takeover

There are questions over what funds Alonso has available and if he can finance a takeover

There are questions over what funds Alonso has available and if he can finance a takeover

We understand he took part in a two-hour call with US lenders, who agreed to loan him the money at an interest rate of 12 per cent. 

But before securing the loan he needed to provide confirmation of EFL approval of the takeover, which has not been granted.

Alonso has now stepped back from that arrangement, leaving him with outstanding fees owed to some of those involved, who have been unable to contact him since last week.

He spoke to talkSPORT yesterday to deny the takeover was in doubt. And, when asked about borrowing funds against Pride Park, Alonso said: ‘No. What I want to do is put the stadium under my name. That’s all, because I can use that money to buy players.’

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