A judge ruling has Andrea Radrizzani facing a court battle costing £50million which could threaten the Leeds United transfer window, according to Adam Pope.
The Whites owner is one of a group of defendants who had asked for their legal case, stemming from the 2016 sale of his sports marketing agency MP & Silva, to be split into three parts due to the high cost of even going through the trial, on the basis that winning the first would render the second and third unnecessary.
They are defending all the claims against them in full, but the judge has denied their request to truncate the trial, meaning the Italian faces a major upcoming cost, which BBC journalist Pope is concerned could affect his ability to spend on the club, especially with the ownership situation involving the 49ers as yet unresolved.
Speaking on the BBC podcast Don’t Go To Bed Just Yet on Monday (21 November, 11min 30sec) he said: “The defendants are asking for the trial to be put into three parts because a single trial would cost £50million, just the cost of the trial, never mind who wins.
“And if you’re having to fork out of that, surely that’s going to affect your cashflow to put into your other businesses, which would include Leeds United. That’s if you don’t lose.”
“The judge has said ‘no’ at this stage and wants an alternative put forward by the defendants, so that’s one to watch because they might just impact on, might be speculating here, where it goes forward, how much cash he needs to continue with his businesses, what he can put into Leeds United.
“That was all meant to be set for next year. As we know, in 2024 the 49ers have the option to buy the club in its entirety.
“It just makes me a little bit puzzled as to who’s going to be holding the purse strings come January for what is probably the most important window, and we say it every year, in the last few years.
“This could be about surviving the Premier League, again, and everything that rests on it, which includes ground redevelopment and pushing the club forward, and of course Jesse Marsch’s future.”
Dramatic recent wins have staved off some of the danger for now, but the unsustainable manner of those games suggests Marsch’s side won’t necessarily pick up points at the same rate after the World Cup.
It won’t take long for the spectre of relegation to return, so addressing the obvious issues in defence and adding help in attack is important for the winter window.
Last season saw Premier League safety go down to the final day after January came and went with no new arrivals, despite a major injury crisis.
If Radrizzani’s funds are tied up in an expensive upcoming court case, before the prospect of any actual conclusion, it could stop him putting up any cash for much-needed signings.
The net spend in the summer was minimal, with the recruits virtually all covered by funds from Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips leaving, which in itself could suggest the chairman was looking to keep his own costs down.
With Leeds United hovering between the current owner and the 49ers ahead of their potential takeover, there are unanswered questions about who is willing or able to fund transfers as it is, so with the additional spanner of legal responsibilities elsewhere the Whites could fall to the back of the queue at a crucial time.
In other Leeds United news, a senior member of the first team is annoyed with his situation and is likely to leave the club in January.