Derby County are close to securing a £60m takeover by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan, after confirming the departure of coach Phillip Cocu.
The Dutchman arrived at Pride Park in the summer of 2019, and after a rocky 16 months at the helm culminated in the Rams being rooted to the bottom of the Championship, he and the club decided to part ways by mutual consent.
Cocu's exit paves the way for a new era in the Midlands, with The Telegraph reporting that Sheikh Khaled - cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour - is expected to complete a takeover worth £60m as early as next week.
The new owners' first task will be appointing a manager capable of guiding Derby out of their current predicament, having dropped to the foot of the table with a 2-0 home defeat to Barnsley.
Cocu leaves the club with a lot of merit still in tact, having steered the Rams through some choppy waters and a whole host of off-field issues. He managed to guide Derby to an impressive 10th place finish last season, while blooding plenty of youngsters into the first-team.
However, his players have struggled to pick up points over the current campaign, earning only one victory since the curtain was raised on the new Championship season. After a day of talks, Cocu decided to leave the second-tier side, accepting a settlement much smaller than the £4m he was contractually obliged to receive.
With uncertainty lingering until the confirmation of the takeover, the Rams have offered the interim role to player-coach Wayne Rooney, and he is ready to take his first steps into management.
Rooney confirmed in a statement that he has been put in charge of Derby's next match against Bristol City, but placed on record his thanks and gratitude for the departing Cocu.
"Sorry Phillip and his staff have left. Want to thank him for all his help and encouragement. Most important thing now is to stabilise the club and start moving up the table.
"Have been [put in charge] for next Saturday’s match against Bristol City. The coaches and I will speak with the players on Monday."
However, there is bad news for the ex-Manchester United superstar. According to the Daily Mail, the 35-year-old does not meet the criteria set by the owners, who are hoping to appoint a boss with experience and a proven track record of working with and improving talented starlets.
Ex-Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is believed to be heading the shortlist of potential new coaches, along with Roberto Di Matteo, Brian McDermott and Nigel Adkins.