Leeds Utd takeover: Andrea Radrizzani drops massive hint over sale as favoured new owners emerge

Andrea Radrizzani, Leeds United owner, during a press conference

Andrea Radrizzani has dropped the biggest hint yet that he is ready to sell his majority share in Leeds United after admitting the club needs more investment to restore them to previous glories.

The Italian businessman took full control at Elland Road in summer 2017 after buying out Massimo Cellino. Under his tenureship, Leeds have secured promotion back to the Premier League and are now in their third season among the elite.

Their first season back in the big time – secured after 16 barren seasons away – saw the club finish ninth under Marcelo Bielsa. However, his tactics quickly unravelled in their second season and, with the Whites plunging towards the relegation zone, Bielsa was axed.

In came Jesse Marsch and he succeeded in helping Leeds avoid the drop, though only after some final day drama at Brentford.

However, after sailing so close to the relegation wind last time out, Leeds find themselves in a similar position this time around. Their season will resume on Wednesday with a tricky assignment against title-chasing Manchester City.

Currently 15th, they are just two points clear of the drop zone following Wolves’ 2-1 win at Everton.

As such, another desperate battle for survival looks set to engulf the club between now and the season’s end.

If Leeds are to stay up, then it is clear that further investment is needed to take Leeds on to the next level.

The club is currently part owned by 49ers Enterprises, who increased their share to 44% in summer 2021.

However, they are reportedly set to become majority shareholders in summer 2021 with Radrizzani ready to relinquish his controlling stake.

Radrizzani hints at Leeds United sale

Earlier this year, Radrizzani was in the news following the sale of his media company Eleven Sports to DAZN.

That saw the Leeds chairman make a handsome profit on his initial investment.

But more funds could soon be coming his way if he is to cash in on his majority ownership of Leeds.

Now for the first time, Radrizzani has suggested he has taken the Yorkshire side as far as he can. Furthermore, he suggests further investment is needed if the 2001 Champions League semi-finalists are to return to previous glories.

“I want to operate as a private equity in sport. Yes, perhaps Leeds can grow further, but in the future, they will need more resources to be able to reach higher levels and compete with the best clubs in the Premier League,” he told il Corriere della Sera.

“As a result I believe that, due to the history of the club and the respect I have for the fans, it is right to let those who can invest more than me go forward, and bring them to the glory of the past. There is also a design aspect: this is my sixth year, change is healthy,” he added.

Radrizzani could look to buy Italian club

Radrizzani has previously tried to buy into Serie A side Salernitana, only to see his approach overlooked.

They have since acquired new ownership, though it has not stopped Radrizzani from looking elsewhere.

And he has opened up on the partnership Leeds have with 49ers Enterprises.

“More than you think. We made an offer for Salernitana, but we never received a response. However, I’m happy for the fans, now they have a very good owner, Danilo Iervolino. He is a serious entrepreneur who is doing well with excellent results,” Radrizzani said.

“Now let’s look around. We are considering investment opportunities in some Italian teams with the 49ers and other important partners. As partners in Leeds with the 49ers we have reached the end of the cycle. We have shown that we know how to create value.

“Now a new phase is opening with new targets. This is accompanied by the interest of family businesses and private equity who want to invest with us.”

Leeds spent just shy of £100m over the summer. Indeed, the likes of Tyler Adams, Luis Sinisterra and Brenden Aaronson all arrived for sizeable fees.

However, their business was underpinned by the sales of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips. If the club are to make the next level, then further investments are clearly needed.

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