By George Overhill

29th Dec, 2022 | 8:10pm

Elland Road crucial to 49ers Leeds United takeover amid Andrea Radrizzani comments - Phil Hay

Redevelopment of Elland Road will be a “massive part” of the investment at Leeds United when the San Francisco 49ers take over says Phil Hay.

Whites owner Andrea Radrizzani spoke about the need for greater investment in the club and hinted at his exit being imminent in an interview with Corriere Della Sera which came out on Boxing Day.

And while Jesse Marsch claimed following the 3-1 loss to Manchester City on Thursday (28 December) that the Italian had told him the interview was from a couple of months ago, The Athletic’s Hay clarified that the takeover is indeed on the way and will have modernising the stadium front and centre.

On The Phil Hay Show on Thursday (29 December, 21min 05sec) he clarified how Radrizzani’s comments should be taken with regards to the takeover, saying: “Regardless of the timing, what he seems to be saying in this is what a lot of people at Leeds are thinking… that there does need to be a transition to different ownership and the time is probably nigh for that.

“It was really a hint to the fact that yes the 49ers are in the wings and this is going to happen at some stage.”

In response to Dan Moylan’s clarification on the language that the “partnership with the 49ers is coming to an end at Leeds” could either mean they are taking over from the Italian or leaving at the same time as him, Hay said (21min 45sec): “It’s the former, that’s what’s in the pipeline and that’s what we’re all waiting for, it’s just a matter of timing.”

He went on to discuss the importance of stadium development to the incoming regime, saying (23min): “Everybody around it is indicating that the stadium will be a massive part of what happens when they arrive. Developing it will be one of the major steps forward, and has to be, in a commercial sense.”

On the point that fans will be more interested in there being investment in the squad rather than the ground he added (27min 50sec): “With a football club that you support, you look for the team and you look for the performance, but I don’t think one’s going to come without the other.”

It’s time

If Radrizzani has reached the point where he is speaking publicly about the need for the club to transition into new hands full time then it should happen as soon as possible.

There has long been a suspicion that he isn’t the man to invest in the way that is necessary for the club to compete in the Premier League, which given the absurd money possessed by many teams is no shame, but if he is acknowledging that himself then the club will be left treading water the longer the changeover is delayed.

It is surely wishful thinking to assume that everything will be plain sailing once the 49ers are in charge, but their plans for the stadium underpin plenty of what it will apparently take to sustain the Whites in the top flight.

Leeds United only narrowly avoided relegation last season while operating in their current circumstances, and they look like they may be running it close again this year.

So the waiting makes little sense and the sooner the seemingly inevitable happens the sooner the club can move forward.

In other Leeds United news, two English teams have been in touch about a move to sign an in-demand player.