As The Star reported earlier this week, former Blades Phil Jagielka, Richard Stearman and Ravel Morrison are all training with Derby, and all three appeared in the Rams’ first pre-season friendly of the season against Manchester United at the weekend.
But Rams boss Wayne Rooney admitted his frustration after the game, with the EFL’s embargo dashing any hopes of signing any of the three players.
Rooney complained that he had no senior centre-halves ahead of the start of the season early next month; his squad is currently made up of nine senior, contracted professionals.
But despite the relaxation, Derby will only be allowed to sign free agents on one-year contracts and any deal must be within strict wage limits.
Ravel Morrison is expected to be amongst the first offered a deal by Rooney, while Jagielka and Stearman will be hoping to continue their careers at Championship level after being released by United and Huddersfield Town respectively at the end of last season.
United host Derby at Bramall Lane on September 25, travelling to Pride Park on January 15.
The EFL imposed the embargo as part of an ongoing battle with Derby about their financial practices, fining them £100,000 last month and ordering them to resubmit their accounts by August 18. Derby may be hit with further charges in the future if the accounts throw up any further issues.