Leeds United’s prospective takeover by 49ers Enterprises could be finalised by the end of the week, per widespread reports.
The Whites’ three-year stay in the Premier League ended with a whimper last month after finishing 19th. Having had four different people in charge over the course of the season – if you count interim boss Michael Skubala – it perhaps comes as no surprise to see them drop down to the second tier.
The last man charged with trying to help salvage their status, Sam Allardyce, has since been told he won’t be staying on after his four-game deal came to an end.
Now the club find themselves looking for a new manager and a new director of football. There is also doubts over several members of their squad, with the Championship season due to kick off in just 60 days’ time.
Before any decision is made on the managerial front, however, Leeds also need to get the ownership issue resolved too.
Majority shareholder and current chairman Andrea Radrizzani currently retains 56% ownership of the club. 49ers Enterprises – the corporate arm of NFL side, San Francisco 49ers, own the remaining 44%.
However, their planned £400m of Leeds, expected to go through this summer, has looked in some doubt as a result of relegation.
But with Radrizzani on the cusp of finalising a takeover at Serie B side Sampdoria, talks over the full sale of Leeds are gathering pace.
Indeed, reports emerged on Monday night that 49ers Enterprises were closing in on a potential deal.
And while TEAMtalk understands that the takeover has not yet gone through, a deal could be finalised later this week with talks ongoing.
Next Leeds manager: Whites suffer blow in Brendan Rodgers chase
Per the Daily Telegraph, there is a confidence that a deal could go through this week. And 49ers Enterprises are likely to settle on a new price for Leeds, reportedly believed to be for £170m.
And if all goes to plan, Radrizzani’s six-year stint at the Leeds helm will soon come to a halt.
Clearly 49ers Enterprises have a hefty workload to get through before both the window starts and the transfer window closes.
A new director of football will likely be their first appointment. To that end, two Championship options are reportedly under consideration.
Following that, the new director of football will help finalise the appointment of the club’s next manager. However, work on that front is already seemingly underway. And those of authority still left at the club, namely chief executive Angus Kinnear and members of the Leeds coaching staff, are currently discussing options.
One name heavily linked with the vacancy is former Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.
Out of work since his axing by the Foxes in early April, he reportedly figures high on the Leeds Utd wishlist.
However, in a blow for Leeds’ apparent interest, The Sun reports that Rodgers wants to take a period out of the game before leaping back into his next managerial role.
That seemingly means Leeds’ prospects of landing the 50-year-old are as good as over. It also means Rodgers’ former club Celtic are out the running too. The Bhoys are in the market for a new manager to replace Ange Postecoglou, who has joined Tottenham.
Leeds considering Steven Gerrard
And Rodgers had been linked with a return to his former club as part of the merry-go-round.
Ironically, Rodgers’ decision to reject Celtic could pave the way for a return to management for Jesse Marsch. The American – sacked by Leeds in February – has also been linked with the Parkhead vacancy.
Per reports, 49ers Enterprises have a potential managerial list of their own, anyway. And their list is reportedly headed up by former Aston Villa and Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.
And while not wholly popular among the Leeds faithful, assisting him at Leeds could be former Whites favourite Gary McAllister.
Gerrard himself, while not commenting directly on the speculation, has spoken warmly about Leeds in the past.
And having been linked with the job back in February when Marsch was sacked, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink gave his blessing at the time to his possible appointment.
“Steven Gerrard is a great shout,” Hasselbaink said. “He knows the Premier League but he also knew what went wrong at Aston Villa.
“He’s a big personality and can handle the pressure of Leeds as a big club, having also managed at Rangers. I can see him managing Leeds.”