PSG owner could reportedly revive Leeds United investment interest alongside Radrizzani takeover
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Leeds’ chairman and majority shareholder Radrizzani is close to a buyout of the historic Italian club who were relegated to the second tier earlier this season, according to reports on the continent.
Now, L’Equipe claim Qatar Sports Investments are involved in ‘advanced talks’ to acquire a minority stake in the soon-to-be Serie B club, with Radrizzani taking majority control in a scenario similar to the deal struck by the Leeds chief and 49ers Enterprises.
The report also states QSI could even be willing to invest in Leeds in due course, which adds another dimension to the uncertainty surrounding the club’s immediate future. The 49ers are understood to have an agreement with Radrizzani to complete a full buyout of Leeds United before January 2024, with this summer’s off-season deemed the most sensible period to enact a change of ownership.
However, in recent weeks, it has become unclear whether Radrizzani will relinquish his 56 per cent majority stake to the 49ers at a discounted price due to the club’s impending relegation.
QSI meanwhile recently acquired a minority stake in Portuguese club SC Braga, and have reportedly set their sights on similar investments in Brazilian giants Santos, as well as Spanish club Malaga.
How QSI’s involvement in Radrizzani’s Sampdoria purchase affects Leeds’ own future remains to be seen, but if PSG’s owners are willing to contribute towards acquiring Sampdoria, Leeds’ chairman would require a lesser figure to complete the deal, believed to be in the tens of millions.
“We’re ready to invest €55 million (£47.8m; $59.5m) immediately to rescue and relaunch Samp. Another €20m is already available. In addition, there are a number of investors from institutionalised capital who are looking at the project and share an interest in joining us,” Gestio Capital chief executive Matteo Manfredi, told Genoa newspaper Il Secolo XIX.
Radrizzani is in partnership with the asset management fund Gestio and presented an offer to purchase Sampdoria last Friday, according to reports.
Leeds’ chairman and PSG chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi have shared a business relationship for some years, dating back to 2020 when the Italian commented on rumours relating to a PSG-backed buyout of Leeds United: “These are rumours that have been ongoing for more than a year now. What is true is that we have a great relationship on a personal level,” he told Gianluca Di Marzio.
“There’s a desire to do something together maybe even in football but there’s nothing concrete at this time,” he said, prior to the Whites’ promotion to the Premier League.
Radrizzani did admit the club would need additional investment on top of minority partners 49ers Enterprises to be competitive in the Premier League, indicating he had considered opening Leeds up to external funding.
"My desire to have a great Leeds that is a protagonist in the Premier League and to do so we will need partners on top of the San Francisco 49ers, we’ll evaluate this when we are in that league,” he said in 2020.
Leeds face a significant rebuild this summer in the event of relegation with changes to be made at executive level, as well as in the dugout and within the playing squad, particularly if the 49ers acquire a controlling stake in the club.
United are yet to communicate how the club plans to move forward this summer with less than three days until the team face Tottenham Hotspur in their final fixture of the season.