Complete control of Leeds United almost within Andrea Radrizzani’s grasp

SEPARATE WAYS? Leeds United co- owners Massimo Cellino and Andrea Radrizzani pictured at the press conference which announced the latter's arrival back in January 2017. Picture: Simon Hulme
SEPARATE WAYS? Leeds United co- owners Massimo Cellino and Andrea Radrizzani pictured at the press conference which announced the latter's arrival back in January 2017. Picture: Simon Hulme
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ANDREA RADRIZZANI is closing in on 100 per cent control of Leeds United after “positive talks” with Massimo Cellino over a complete takeover.

Radrizzani and Cellino are locked in negotiations about a deal which is set to see Cellino relinquish his 50 per cent share and quit United after three years in charge.

The transfer of full ownership to Radrizzani would clear a path for the Italian to address the future of United head coach Garry Monk and begin planning for next season.

Monk is into the final weeks of the 12-month deal he signed last summer and has not yet spoken to the club about an extension but the YEP understands that the 38-year-old and Radrizzani will hold talks this weekend, ahead of United’s last game of the season at Wigan Athletic.

Leeds, who have an option to renew Monk’s existing deal for another year, are expected to make Monk the offer of a longer contract provided he and Radrizzani can agree on a strategy for the 2017-18 season.

Radrizzani has spent the four months as co-owner of Leeds after Cellino, who first purchased a majority stake in the club in 2014, diluted his equity in January by agreeing a 50-50 split of shares with his compatriot.

Massimo Cellino, Ben Mansford and Andrea Radrizzani, pictured at Elland Road back in January. Picture: Simon Hulme

Massimo Cellino, Ben Mansford and Andrea Radrizzani, pictured at Elland Road back in January. Picture: Simon Hulme

Their share purchase agreement gave Radrizzani the right to acquire all remaining shares at the end of this season and the 42-year-old is pursuing that option with a view to buying Cellino out before the end of the month.

A source at Elland Road told the YEP: “Positive talks have been held between Massimo Cellino and Andrea Radrizzani over a full takeover of the club but no deal is concluded yet.”

Cellino’s tenure as owner has been marred by controversy and attempts by different governing bodies to ban him from running Leeds and his appearances at Elland Road have been fleeting since his sale of a 50 per cent stake to Radrizzani.

At the time of that agreement, the former Cagliari owner gave a clear hint that a full buy-out by Radrizzani was coming, saying: “He’s 20 years (younger) than me. That’s important because I’m getting a little bit old. For us he gives a longer future than you have with me.”

Monk’s contract is one of the major issues awaiting Radrizzani’s attention amid the on-going attempt to secure full control from Cellino.

Radrizzani brought forward a plan to start talks with Monk in June after United fell short of the Championship play-offs last weekend.

A full takeover will see changes at boardroom level and Angus Kinnear, currently West Ham United’s managing director, in line to join Radrizzani at Elland Road.

Kinnear was marketing director at Arsenal before joining West Ham in 2013 and dealt with Radrizzani - then one of the owners of sports media rights firm MP & Silva - during his time with the north London club.

Radrizzani made one change United’s board last week by naming Spaniard and former Real Madrid strategist Ivan Bravo as a club director.

Leeds are yet to make any comment on the possibility of Kinnear’s appointment or the position of existing chief executive Ben Mansford, who joined the club from Barnsley last June.

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