Leeds United Takeover

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has been in France for takeover talks.

Radrizzani flew to Paris yesterday for talks with Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi who also runs the state-owned Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) which is a subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Radrizzani attended last night’s Champions League clash between PSG and Brugge as a guest of friend Al-Khelaifi. The duo know each other from when Radrizzani ran the sports marketing agency MP & Silva which sold football rights to TV networks between 2004 and 2018.

QSI are considering Leeds United as their next long-term project. This could consist in the investment group purchasing a minority stake in the club with a full takeover possibly going through at a later stage or a complete take-over from the off.

The Elland Road chief recently claimed that Leeds United would be able to compete with Premier League big spenders Manchester City if proposed investment from the Middle East went through. If that was to happen, this could eventually prove a problem in the future as UEFA rules prevent teams with the same owners meeting in either the Champions League or Europa League. Although that wouldn’t be a short term issue, it still has to be considered as QSI would want to repeat the success that Manchester City have achieved since they were taken over by Sheikh Mansour in 2008. City have since won four Premier League titles, including the last two and have spent more than £1.5billion on players.

Two other parties have also registered an interest in Leeds United. One is a very wealthy fan in the U.S. with the other being an existing owner of an Italian Football Club.

Speaking last month, Radrizzani said: “I have been approached by more than 20 parties and I have selected these three.

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“The option of Qatar Sports Investments and Nasser – first of all they are friends, we have had a good relationship for a long time.

“Secondly, they have the possibility to bring this club to compete with Manchester City, so for the fans that could be a fantastic opportunity.

“The second is based in America, he’s a big fan of Leeds United since he was a child, and I like that. Another one is the owner of an Italian club.

“With another club you can create synergy to be more competitive and to target the Premier League – we could maybe get a loan to increase the quality of the team.”

He added: “The most important thing for me is to make this club big again.

“When I will open the door to others I don’t know, hopefully when we are in the Premier League.

“The financial support would be more important in the Premier League.”

Radrizzani, chairman and founder of Eleven Sports, is in no rush to do business and he insists that he will only do what’s best for the club in the long term, be it bringing in another investor or selling the club completely.

49ers Enterprises, the investment entity behind NFL giants the San Francisco 49ers, purchased a 10 per cent holding in Leeds United from Radrizzani in May 2018. Paraag Marathe, President of 49ers Enterprises, assumed a seat on the Leeds United Board of Directors as a result.

Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinnear said in September that the club was “one of the most investable propositions in world football” and that’s a view shared by many financial observers in the game. The club ticks plenty of boxes that investors are looking for. It makes far more financial sense for QSI to buy into a second tier club with so much potential (decent accounts, a large and loyal fan base with a famous history) than a club already in the Premier League.

It is claimed that QSI value Leeds United in the region of £50million and £70million.

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