Andrea Radrizzani prepares for Leeds United exit amid 'binding' Sampdoria bid as 49ers Enterprises wait in wings
Andrea Radrizzani’s involvement in a “binding” offer to take over Sampdoria suggests he is preparing for a Leeds United exit even if the club go down, according to the Daily Mail.
The relegated Italian side are in financial turmoil and the Whites owner was in his home country on Monday (22 May) as part of Gestio Capital’s attempt to complete a deal to buy the club.
But with the move coming just 24 hours after Sam Allardyce’s side lost 3-1 at West Ham to leave them needing help to avoid relegation from the Premier League it is seen as a signal that the Leeds United chairman is planning to move on even if they go down and his already-agreed 49ers sale has to be redone.
According to The Daily Mail: “Relegation complicates matters but the NFL franchise – who already own a 44 per cent stake – are understood to be keen on taking full control of the Whites even if they go down on Sunday.
“That would require Radrizzani having to agree to sell at a far lower price, with the valuation of Leeds plummeting from around £420million to £150m if they drop divisions.
“However, his interest in Sampdoria suggests he is preparing to exit Elland Road whatever this summer, even though rules allow him to control both clubs.”
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End of the road
It is impossible to say until official word comes out of Elland Road following the conclusion of the season, but it would be a surprising move to be taking on ownership in another club just as fortunes have taken a significant down-turn at the one Radrizzani already controls.
The long-term expectation had been that a sale will go through to 49ers Enterprises this summer, and the owner’s public statements until very recently have suggested he didn’t expect relegation to throw a spanner in the works.
He is not going to make anywhere near the amount of money he had been due if there isn’t to be a second final-day escape, but as a practical matter it appears that he has reached the point where he can’t be the man to take Leeds United forward.
After reported interest in Inter, it may be that he has his eye set on operating in Italian football where the financial requirements to compete are not at the eye-watering level that the Premier League demands.
And while falling into the second tier means the incoming money falls, parachute payments aside, it frequently still demands hefty investment to gun for promotion again.
If Radrizzani can’t commit to that then it makes sense from the club’s perspective for him to hand control over the the 49ers as the controllers going forward, and if he is ready to relinquish an asset that would otherwise have netted him hundreds of millions more rather than cling on to the potential detriment of all sides it would be to his credit.
In other Leeds United news, a veto in the deal has emerged as a “damaging” situation drags on according to a BBC journalist.