Leeds United takeover state of play amid Radrizzani report and Premier League and EFL hot potato
and live on Freeview channel 276
Any hope for a quiet week of sombre reflection on the season gone and the Championship campaign to come was killed off when a report by The Athletic revealed Andrea Radrizzani’s proposal to put Elland Road stadium up as collateral in order to obtain a loan with which he could buy Sampdoria. With no charge showing on Companies House it appears as if the proposal remained just that. Radrizzani came under fire during Sunday’s relegation-confirming defeat to Spurs, a game he did not attend, and the mood among fans suggests any way forward for his ownership regime would be difficult. John Mann, chair of Leeds United Supporters Club told the YEP: “Risking Elland Road is the end of Radrizzani at Leeds - beyond what is acceptable.”
49ers Enterprises are believed to remain keen on a full takeover of Leeds United, having previous agreed a deal with Radrizzani in the event of the club retaining Premier League status. A new deal has therefore to be negotiated for his shares and though there are suggestions that talks are ongoing, neither party has addressed the possibility of a transition of power this week. A statement from Radrizzani, released prior to The Athletic’s report, did not suggest he was planning to sell or depart the club.
What are they saying?
The YEP has attempted to obtain responses to this week’s events from Radrizzani, along with 49ers vice president and major Elland Road player Collin Meador, but as of yet none have been forthcoming. Leeds United as a club have been unable to comment.
The EFL have made it clear to the YEP that they cannot comment on individual cases and in any case Leeds remain under Premier League jurisdiction until the transfer of shares occurs between the two governing bodies next week. The Premier League, in turn, had no comment to make and referred the YEP back to the EFL.
Who is running Leeds United?
CEO Angus Kinnear remains in charge of the running of the club and some decisions have been reached this week, including the reassurances given to general staff that they would not be at the risk of redundancy or pay cuts. Upon that Radrizzani and 49ers Enterprises must have agreed. The club also decided to part company with Sam Allardyce at the end of his four-game stint, which suggests both sides of the boardroom saw eye-to-eye on that, at least. Allardyce concurred with Leeds on that.
Elsewhere in the club there are department heads who are meeting to have input when it comes to the plans for pre-season, friendly fixtures and a number of squad rebuild decisions. Kinnear, head of medicine and performance Rob Price, scouting chief Andrea Iore and loans manager Andrew Taylor have been among those involved in weekly meetings.
What decisions can be made?
There are players the club is almost certain it will part with, regardless of who comes in to manage the team or who owns it. Wage demands, relegation release clauses, sale value and performance levels will be among the considerations when it comes to those decisions. Ultimately, however, Radrizzani and the 49ers will need to agree on who goes. The ownership picture will likely dictate other, more borderline decisions on sales and the scale of the summer exodus. Agents have been sounded out on some potential goodbyes.
Pre-season friendlies are being lined up, including the already-announced Manchester United game in Oslo and another high profile away day, and conversations with prospective head coaches can help shape the look of pre-season. If the candidates currently talking to the club were all of a mind to keep the team at Thorp Arch this summer, then the club need not plan for a training camp on foreign shores.
The club wants to return to the high fitness and high intensity levels seen under Marcelo Bielsa, with an aggressive style of football that will excite the fans. To that end the players will return for pre-season early and they have been sent away with stringent fitness programmes.
But the appointment of a manager is key to finalising a good number of plans and ideas. Equally the addition of a head of recruitment is key to completing the necessay signings. Neither appointment can be made until it is known for certain whether the status quo will remain with Radrizzani as majority owner, or if 49ers Enterprises will buy him out.
What stage is the takeover at?
All we know is that negotiations have been on-going. 49ers Enterprises are still keen, there’s still a confidence that a deal can be done. Prior to the midweek revelations, this weekend was spoken about as a key point but it seems highly plausible that the situation will rumble on into next week at least. The closer Leeds get to the start of the transfer window and then the start of pre-season, the more consequential this boardroom situation becomes and the more peril it carries for an instant promotion bid. It is in the interests of all parties to come to a swift understanding of how the ownership picture will look, so the club can crack on with a multitude of big decisions.