Andrea Radrizzani outlines long-term Leeds United vision, exploring multi-club ownership model

The Whites owner has been speaking about his plans for the future at Elland Road.

By Joe Urquhart
Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 4:59 pm
Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani. (Getty)
Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani. (Getty)

Andrea Radrizzani has outlined his long-term vision for Leeds United’s assault on the Premier League and revealed he could follow a multi-club ownership model.

The 46-year-old media tycoon initially purchased a 50 per cent stake in United from fellow Italian Massimo Cellino in January 2017, before completing a full takeover the following summer.

Radrizzani has overseen a huge change in fortunes at Elland Road since his arrival, earning promotion to the Premier League in late July under head coach Marcelo Bielsa’s guidance.

United now hold top-flight status for the first time in 16 years following a turbulent period for Leeds both on and off the pitch. Radrizzani welcomed investment from NFL giants, San Francisco 49ers, in 2018, and the California-based sports franchise has already shown an interest in increasing their minority stake following promotion to England’s elite.

The Italian has recently hinted that outside financial backing could still yet appear from the 49ers or elsewhere in the coming months, but is himself committed to a long-term future in West Yorkshire.

“We play in the same league but we don’t play with the same means,” Radrizzani told Sports Pro Media. “You need to continue your growth step by step, gradually.

“On the pitch with performances, and the development of the academy, the youth and recruitment and, at the same time, to expand your brand to new generations, millennials, around the world, which can be done only if you’re becoming an attractive football team on the pitch as well, with good players, with a certain style of play.

"In my mind, it’s very clear what I have to do, I just need a little bit of time and work very hard and structure, step by step, the club to catch up with the opportunities.

“We need two or three years of staying in the Premier League and then this club can really have the ambition to be close to the top six, or to climb even more.

“My model in football is Leicester; I think they have a good model, they run the club very well.

“That’s what I aspire to do but also with the acknowledgement that Leeds United, with all respect [to Leicester], is a much bigger brand internationally. It’s a big club.”

Radrizzani also admitted to exploring a multi-football club ownership model, similar to those set-up by energy drink giants Red Bull and City Football Group - Manchester City’s owners.

“I do believe that a consolidated group in football, with multiple club ownership, can be a benefit in terms of synergies and creating value in the development of the players and, in some cases, also on the commercial side,” Radrizzani said.

“It’s something that I’m studying and exploring. I’m already in touch with some potential target clubs to acquire. I haven’t made any decisions yet.

“I’m still in an evaluation phase and I think that the model I have in mind is definitely different to what I see at the moment. It would be more focused on two or three countries in Europe where we can have close integration on the football side.

“The City [Football Group] and Red Bull models are very different; they have clubs in different continents. I don’t think that’s what I want to do.

“I want to do something much more integrated on the football side so there’s no big gap between the level of football quality between these clubs.”