Andrea Radrizzani reveals trio of offers for stake in Leeds United, including Qatari Sports Investment proposal

Qatari Sports Investment's long-rumoured interest in Leeds United has yielded one of three offers currently on the table for a stake in the club.

By Graham Smyth
Monday, 14th October 2019, 8:37 am
Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani says he's mulling over three investment offers (Pic: Getty)
Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani says he's mulling over three investment offers (Pic: Getty)

Whites owner Andrea Radrizzani has revealed he is mulling over a trio of investment proposals, one of which is from Nasser al-Khelaifi's QSI and would, in his estimation, help the club to rival Premier League champions Manchester City.

The pair are friends, having worked together in the past on deals for football TV rights and speculation of a QSI takeover surfaced this summer - speculation Leeds were quick to play down.

Leeds' owner has made no secret of the fact that he is open to outside investment and has already sold a 10 per cent stake to 49ers Enterprises, the finance entity behind NFL franchise the San Francisco 49ers.

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Radrizzani is yet to reveal the identity of the other two offers under consideration but told The Times that one is a US-based lifelong Leeds fan and the other owns an Italian football club.

“I have been approached by more than 20 parties and I have selected these three,” Radrizzani says.

“The option of Qatar Sports Investment and Nasser — first of all they are friends, we have had a good relationship for a long time. Secondly, they have the possibility to bring this club to compete with Manchester City, so for the fans that could be a fantastic opportunity.

“The second is based in America, he’s a big fan of Leeds United since he was a child, and I like that.

“Another one is the owner of an Italian club. With another club you can create synergy to be more competitive and to target the Premier League — we could maybe get a loan to increase the quality of the team.”

The chairman and founder of Eleven Sports, who earlier this year hinted at a link up with Cagliari after the two sides met in a pre-season friendly, says the size of his stake is of secondary importance to returning the club to prominence in England.

“The most important thing for me is to make this club big again. When I will open the door to others I don’t know, hopefully when we are in the Premier League. The financial support would be more important in the Premier League.

“When it will be done, it doesn’t matter which share [I have], it matters that I can continue my project and also have the support to build this club back again.

"L’appetito vien mangiando, as we say in Italy — appetite comes while you are eating. I don’t need to sell but it is important to listen because I always remember I am a custodian of the club. If it was my own business I would treat it a bit differently.”

Radrizzani also gave insight into the cost involved in employing head coach Marcelo Bielsa and his backroom team and the financial implications of the club's attempts to escape the Championship.

“It is very expensive, I invested over £90 million — with this level of money you could own a Europa League club in most of the European leagues, including Italy.

“The club makes losses, in this league it is impossible not to. We are still paying the consequences of my first year because I was inexperienced and we made some expensive mistakes with players.

“But we haven’t stopped investing. Bielsa and his staff cost £6 million [a year], we bought many other players and I think we have a squad to be promoted. It’s financially not sustainable to keep this level of salary which is now over £30 million, probably £33 million with Marcelo and closer to £40 million with the coaches.”