Face in the crowd at Elland Road: Is this Leeds United’s next owner?

Andrea Radrizzani pictured far left, holding up a mobile phone, at yesterday's game between Leeds United and Newcastle United.
Andrea Radrizzani pictured far left, holding up a mobile phone, at yesterday's game between Leeds United and Newcastle United.
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Renewed takeover talk surrounds Andrea Radrizzani after the Italian businessman was spotted in the crowd during Leeds United’s 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United.

Radrizzani watched yesterday’s game from a seat in Elland Road’s West Stand, an appearance which seemed to confirm that investment talks between him and United owner Massimo Cellino are still alive.

Andrea Radrizzani, next to Leeds owner Massimo Cellino, durinng Leeds United's 3-0 defeat to QPR in August.

Andrea Radrizzani, next to Leeds owner Massimo Cellino, durinng Leeds United's 3-0 defeat to QPR in August.

Radrizzani - one of the founders of global media firm MP & Silva - opened dialogue with Cellino about the purchase of shares in Leeds before the start of this season and he was previously pictured at two other matches, a pre-season friendly against Atalanta and a 3-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers on August 7.

Photographs of Radrizzani at the defeat to Newcastle were published on the online blog Follow Me and Leeds United.

Discussions between Cellino and Radrizzani hit an impasse in September but Radrizzani hinted strongly at progress last week with a tweet saying: “One step closer...but need more time.”

The 42-year-old, whose interest in Leeds is rumoured to be backed by Chinese technology firm Baofeng, has not spoken specifically about his intentions at Elland Road since saying in August: “At the moment there is nothing concrete and (only a) simple conversation to understand the club better.” Cellino has made no comment about a possible sale of the club he purchased in April 2014.

Any takeover or sizeable investment in Leeds would require Football League approval and it is understood that the governing body is yet to be asked to sanction a deal.

The extent of Radrizzani’s personal wealth is unclear but his involvement in MP & Silva saw the company expand to a level where it posted an annual turnover of close to £500m in the 2014-15 financial year.

He recently resigned as a director of the firm but remained as a shareholder. Earlier this year he advised the Suning Group on its takeover of Inter Milan in Italy.

Cellino, meanwhile, has held full control of Leeds since his UK company, Eleonora Sport Ltd, bought out the minority stake held by former United owner Gulf Finance House in September.

Despite the discussions between him and Radrizzani, other potential buyers of Leeds have been told by Cellino’s legal advisors that the club is not for sale.