By George Overhill

1st Jun, 2023 | 2:40pm

Leeds United takeover: Finance expert suggests 49ers sale could be year away despite Andrea Radrizzani 'open secret'

Andrea Radrizzani selling Leeds United to 49ers Enterprises could come this year or it could still be a year away despite the Italian wanting out, according to Kieran Maguire.

In the words of the University of Liverpool football finance expert it has been an “open secret” that the Whites chairman has been looking for a way to depart Elland Road for some time, but amid the club being relegated from the Premier League it is now unclear when it will now be.

Radrizzani has pressed ahead with a move to takeover Sampdoria in Italy, but after Leeds United suffered a value depreciation of as much as two thirds he is only looking at around a £150million asset, of which he currently owns 56%.

Speaking on The Price of Football podcast (1 June, 14m 30s) Maguire said: “It’s been an open secret that Andrea Radrizzani has been looking for an exit-route from Leeds United for a period of time, and we’ve spoken at length that the San Francisco 49ers investment arm are now a significant shareholder as far as the club is concerned, with a view to a takeover.

“Now, whether that takeover is going to be this summer or next summer we don’t know but Leeds will be at a lower asking price as a Championship club compared to a Premier League club.

“The rumoured price in the Premier League was £450million, potentially dropping to £150million if they are in the Championship. Although I suspect that £150million will be, a bit like many transfers, with some add-ons should they return to the Premier League.”

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Delays

If Radrizzani wants a price for his Leeds United shares that prove to be impossible for him to get out of the 49ers in the Championship then logically he could stay.

His Wednesday (31 May) statement was vague enough that it could be construed as either meaning he is still working towards a sale or he is gearing up to remain in charge for the season in the second tier.

But amid his manoeuvres in Italy it seems fairly clear that he has a new primary focus, which is the last thing the Whites need if he is going to be sticking around.

The hope has to be that an agreement can be reached in a short space of time, even if that has to be some sort of interim arrangement for a one-year push to get back into the Premier League.

Having an owner that appeared to be on the brink of a summer exit can’t have been particularly conducive to the smooth long-term planning at Elland Road this season, and on the evidence of four different managers and a departed sporting director events seem to back that up.

So now that the club have felt the effects with relegation it is not going to be what many supporters want to see for the same set up to play out for another year.

If Radrizzani has been planning his exit then he needed to make doubly-sure that his pre-agreed sale for a top flight side stayed in effect.

The current situation, with Angus Kinnear reportedly working on managerial and sporting director appointments in the background, without a clear picture of who will be in charge to sign off on their arrival, is anything but ideal if this club is going to rectify the mistakes of this year.

In other Leeds United news, there is now an expectation that Radrizzani isn’t going anywhere.