Leeds United close to full takeover by 49ers Enterprises

Andrea Radrizzani - AMA/Getty Images/Robbie Jay Barratt
Andrea Radrizzani - AMA/Getty Images/Robbie Jay Barratt

Andrea Radrizzani, the Leeds United owner, is set to complete the club’s sale to 49ers Enterprises and there is confidence of the new owners being in place within a week.

The Italian has been in talks with the American group – who already own a 44 per cent stake – to end his six-year reign, which included Premier League football returning to Elland Road.

A breakthrough was made at the start of the week and the takeover could be confirmed before the weekend if the final part of the deal goes smoothly.

Paraag Marathe, president of 49ers Enterprises, has been on the board at Leeds since 2018 and a takeover deal was put in place that was dependent on them staying in the Premier League, with the club valued at more than £400 million with top-flight status.

After Sam Allardyce was unable to save them from relegation, negotiations have taken place on a lower price.

The takeover would bring an end to a period under Radrizzani with significant highs and lows. He was responsible for appointing Marcelo Bielsa and eventually returning to the Premier League after a 16-year absence. But fans were upset at the board as they slipped down the table under Bielsa’s successor Jesse Marsch.

Italian apologises to fans for relegation

Allardyce’s appointment for the last four games of the season was a desperate attempt to avoid relegation.

Radrizzani was not in the stands when Leeds’s relegation was confirmed. He has been working on a takeover of Sampdoria in his homeland, with the famous old club relegated from Serie A.

The Italian then apologised to Leeds fans for the season, without committing on who would control the club in the future.

“I am sincerely sorry for how this season has unfolded,” Radrizzani said. “We have made significant investments to try [to] keep Leeds United in the Premier League, but in working hard to improve the club, we have also obviously made some mistakes.

“We are reflecting on the decisions that we have taken, to ensure we learn the lessons to improve our club and make progress in the future.”

Allardyce held talks with Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear last week that confirmed he would not be staying on as manager after his brief spell.

The club are in the process of finding the right manager to mount a promotion challenge in the Championship next year. Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker and Carlos Corberan were early contenders but the new owners may have their own views on the appointment.

The club have also been without a director of football since Victor Orta’s departure at the same time Allardyce was drafted in to take over from Javi Gracia in the final month of the season.