Andrea Radrizzani may not sell Elland Road to 49ers in Leeds United takeover deal
Andrea Radrizzani’s attempt to secure a loan against Elland Road suggests the stadium may not be included in a sale of Leeds United to 49ers Enterprises, according to The Athletic.
The Whites chairman reportedly offered the stadium as collateral when he co-signed an agreement in principle for a £26million loan to help buy Sampdoria, although there is no evidence the proposal went through this way.
Radrizzani owns the stadium separately from the club and while it was assumed that the ongoing negotiations with the 44% minority owners would include Elland Road in the deal, the latest developments may now mean that is not the case, as there was a provision in the original loan agreement that could have seen the Whites’ home tied to the Sampdoria money for as long as a decade.
Phil Hay and Adam Crafton’s Athletic story says: “Radrizzani’s purchase of Elland Road six years ago was viewed as a major step towards stability for Leeds, despite it not returning to the hands of the club directly.
“The indication was that any future takeover was likely to include the stadium as part of the deal, but that may now be in doubt.”
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It’s impossible to say whether Radrizzani has changed his mind recently based on circumstances around the Sampdoria move, or whether his purchase of the stadium was always with a view to use it as a bargaining chip.
Paying rent to the owner to play in the stadium which has been the club’s home for over a century is somewhat uncomfortable if he is actually in charge.
But the prospect of doing so after he has sold up and moved on would be seen as outrageous, especially if he departs under the cloud he is currently creating.
And in light of the ongoing lack of an agreement with the 49ers post-relegation, and the indication that they were kept in the dark over Radrizzani’s attempts to include the stadium in the loan proposal, the American enterprise’s plans to develop Elland Road would surely be in question if it remained an “asset” of the Italian, as he so forcefully indicated to The Athletic.
The stadium is synonymous with the club, and while it is hardly unique to Leeds for the ground not to be directly owned by the club itself, it needs to be a part of the sale.
When that sale is completed was already the question fans wanted answers to, but in light of the most recent developments would seem to be even further up in the air.
In other Leeds United news, one first-team regular is now “certain” to leave the club as a fee verdict emerges for his sale.