Leeds United takeover: Deal between San Francisco 49ers Enterprises and Andreas Radrizzani officially agreed

San Francisco 49ers Enterprises have agreed to buy 100 per cent of Leeds United.

The deal, which is thought to value the club in the region of £170m, will be subject to Football League approval but at 9.30pm on Friday Leeds announced an agreement had been reached between the commercial arm of the NFL franchise and Andrea Radrizzani to buy the Italian's 56 per cent stake.

A club statement said: “Both parties continue to work through the details, and further updates will be provided soon.

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“All of our focus remains on a quick return to the Premier League.”

Leeds were relegated to the Championship at the end of May, potentially derailing long-held plans for the 49ers to buy the club in its entirety. The option which allowed them to do so by January was based on them paying a price based on Premier League status.

However the American investors, who first bought into the club in 2018, remained committed to the project, and Radrizzani buying Serie B-bound Sampdoria gave the Italian extra incentive to sell.

Having bought Leeds from Massimo Cellini in 2017 and led them to ninth in the Premier League in 2020-21 after the appointment of Marcelo Bielsa as coach, Radrizzani’s popularity has nosedived since sacking the popular Argentinian in February 2022.

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Calls for him to sell the club have regularly been heard from the terraces during the last two seasons of relegation battles. Whilst Bielsa’s successor Jesse Marsch averted the danger on the final day of the 2021-22 season, Leeds succumbed this year.

DEAL: The sale of Leeds United has been agreedDEAL: The sale of Leeds United has been agreed
DEAL: The sale of Leeds United has been agreed

The chasm in revenues between English football’s first and second tiers meant that even with controversial parachute payments softening the blow a new price had to be negotiated as a result.

It is expected ownership of the club’s Elland Road stadium will pass from Radrizzani to the 49ers as part of the deal. Expanding it was a key part of their plans, although the idea was to do so only after Leeds had consolidated their Premier League status over the course of two or three years.

The Football League will now put the new board through their extensive owners and directors test, although the key figures have already gone through it once before it was beefed up in recent years.

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This means the 49ers, who built their shareholding up to 44 per cent before the takeover, are not coming into the club cold. Paraag Marathe has been Leeds’s vice-chairman since January 2021 and all major decisions were run past this group last season in the expectation they would be the long-term custodians.

The new board have a full in-tray.

They must find a new manager or more likely coach after both parties decided not to continue Sam Allardyce’s unsuccessful four-match tenure at the end of the campaign.

They must also decide how and with whom they will replace director of football Victor Orta, who left the club in April as the first victim of the backlash against the board.

Then those two figures must work together to reshape a squad which will need the wage bill trimming, even notwithstanding automatic wage cuts across following relegation, and to decide which of those players who want to move on for the sake of their careers should be allowed to, and at what price. Cheaper replacements will need to be sought.

The transfer window officially opens on Wednesday and the new Championship season begins on the first weekend of August.