Prospective new Derby County owner Erik Alonso has told El Confidencial how he has spoken with Wayne Rooney and targets a promotion challenge next season.

Alonso is on the verge of taking over Derby after an agreement with Mel Morris.

The 29-year-old Spaniard is now awaiting EFL approval which he is confident of reaching, while already setting in motion plans for when he takes over at Pride Park.

United Kingdom - Derby - Derby Country Versus Stoke City Football Match
An exterior view of the statue to former managers Brian Clough and Peter Taylor.

Derby are currently eight points above the Championship relegation zone.

But speaking to Spanish reporters, Alonso says while survival is a priority, he wants to challenge for promotion next season having already spoken with Wayne Rooney.

“Wayne Rooney has my backing, 100%. We have had a reunion with him and the sporting director. The plans are obvious. First things first is this season and survival. Next season, we want to be fighting for promotion to the Premier League along with ten or so other clubs who fight every year,” Alonso explained.

Derby have endured a difficult campaign with Phillip Cocu dismissed earlier in the season.

Rooney, who initially took charge as an interim manager and stepped down as a player, guided the Rams out of the relegation zone and was named permanent boss in January.

But a run of just two wins in 11 games means Derby still have work to do.

Derby County v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images

Rooney has made no secret of his desire to strengthen Derby’s squad this summer and challenge for the playoffs next term, but investment in the playing side will be key.

Alonso adds how he wants to focus on improving the club’s scouting network while buying players with a high re-sale value – a strategy Derby should have adopted five years ago.

Also see: Prospective new Derby owner outlines recruitment approach similar to Brentford’s lead

Also see: ‘No two ways about that’: Liverpool coach impressed by Kaide Gordon following Derby switch

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