Leeds United takeover talks go on with key dates in focus and high profile friendly in the works

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Leeds United takeover talks between Andrea Radrizzani and 49ers Enterprises continue to progress as key dates loom on the horizon for the Whites.

It is now eight days since Leeds were relegated from the Premier League to the Championship and during that time negotiations over the ownership picture have been ongoing. A deal between majority owner Radrizzani and 49ers Enterprises had been struck that would have allowed the latter to take control almost immediately had Leeds stayed up, but there was no agreement set in stone for the eventuality of relegation. A fresh price for Radrizzani’s 56 per cent shareholding, reflecting the club’s second tier status, needed to be agreed upon and there has been confidence around the club that a deal could be done.

What stands in the club’s favour is how quickly a transition of power could happen if both parties reach a final agreement. 49ers Enterprises already own 44 per cent of the club and having had their feet under the boardroom table would not need to devote further time to due diligence.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While talks go on however, so too does time and before many more days or weeks have passed Leeds need to be in a position where their ownership structure for the 2023/24 season is made clear, either way. The summer transfer window opens in just eight days’ time on June 14 and although department heads at Elland Road have been holding weekly meetings with CEO Angus Kinnear to make decisions on player retention and possible departures, any incoming head coach will want to have a say in many of those matters. Equally, a yet-to-be-appointed head of recruitment will want to be heavily involved, alongside the new manager, in what will be a significant summer rebuild.

It would be no surprise to see double digit first team squad exits as those with release clauses or higher wage demands seek instant returns to top flight football at home or abroad and the club parts company with those whose Elland Road stints have clearly come to an end. Many of those remaining players who earned promotion to the Premier League in 2020 are expected to stay and Leeds hope to keep a number of key individuals like Tyler Adams, Willy Gnonto and Max Wober. Their mettle will of course be tested, certainly in the case of Gnonto and Adams, in the weeks ahead.

Leeds expect to be competitive in next season’s promotion race regardless of whether or not the takeover gets over the line and recruitment staff have been working on both scenarios with regards to who will be making the final decisions on expenditure and the club’s direction, but with players set to return on July 2 for pre-season training, the need for clarity bears a certain urgency. That date would be a hard deadline for a coaching appointment at any club this summer, let alone one with promotion aspirations.

The club has not ground to a halt in the meantime, though. CEO Kinnear addressed the club’s general staff last week to inform them that wages and jobs were not at risk, despite the drop back into the Championship – a confirmation that would have to have come from Radrizzani and his boardroom partners.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Plans for a pre-season friendly programme continue to tick over in the background. Leeds are set to face Manchester United on July 12 in Oslo, Norway, and a friendly against Glasgow Rangers at Ibrox Stadium is also being discussed. The two clubs famously met in Champions League action in what was referred to as the ‘Battle of Britain’ back in the 1992/93 season and prior to that locked horns in the 1968 Fairs Cup. It now appears unlikely that the Whites will spend much more time away from their Thorp Arch base this summer, with a number of managerial candidates expressing that as their preference, as opposed to a training camp abroad. A final confirmation of what the summer will look like is yet to be determined.