Ex-Newcastle owner Mike Ashley plans talks to seal Middlesbrough compensation deal before committing to Derby takeover

MIKE ASHLEY is planning talks with Steve Gibson and the Football League to solve problems between Derby and Middlesbrough.

Ex-Newcastle owner Ashley wants to buy Derby County but has yet to commit to a deal — with Boro’s bid for compensation from the Rams a major problem to any buyer.

Boro owner Gibson and Ashley were relatively close when Ashley was at the Toon and they may be able to find a compromise.

Boro want a pay-off from Derby’s Financial Fair Play crimes as they say it cost them a shot at promotion from the Championship, and the EFL want the issue settled quickly.

So much so they have threatened to kick Derby out of the Championship in the middle of this season.

But Ashley would prefer the EFL to sort out the dispute without the threat of compensation claims or future legal action.

American Rich Riley is set to throw money behind a rival bid to rescue Derby.

The wealthy former CEO of several top firms is being brought into a take-over team led by ex-Rams owner Andy Appleby. Riley’s financial backing is needed to help tackle mounting costs.

Their plan to get round the Boro and Wycombe compensation problem is to seek arbitration, too, possibly in the Court of Arbitration in Sport.

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Meanwhile, the Rams are at risk of losing centre-half Curtis Davies.

Davies, 36, has a release clause in his contract and can move as the Rams face a tough battle to survive.

And Sheffield United might move for Stoke’s Frank Fielding, who was in talks with Derby, if on-loan Roma keeper Robin Olsen joins Aston Villa.

Incredibly, Wayne Rooney's side are off the bottom of the Championship despite having been deducted 21 points after they beat Sheffield United 2-0 yesterday.

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