By Craig Scott

19th Jul, 2022 | 8:47pm

Andrea Radrizzani’s time as the Leeds United owner is, unfortunately, numbered.

The Italian businessman has overseen a dramatic transformation at Elland Road and has proven himself to be one of the best – if not the best – owner in the English football.

Leeds are back in the big time and we owe a lot of that to him but with the San Francisco 49ers steadily increasing their shares at the Yorkshire club, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before we’re saying arrivederci to the Italian chief.

In December 2021, The Athletic reported that 49ers Enterprises have an option to buy Leeds United from Radrizzani before January 2024 for over £400 million.

It means that no matter what, Radrizzani’s time as majority shareholder at Elland Road is limited.

On 24 May, The Telegraph claimed that the 49ers could accelerate their plans to complete a full takeover at Leeds this summer after relegation from the Premier League was avoided last season.

And while that hasn’t happened yet, it’s still mid-July and a lot can change between now and the end of August. Plus the 49ers could go in to buy Leeds at any point, really.

Either way, this could be Radrizzani’s final transfer window as the majority shareholder at Leeds and what better way for him to bid farewell than to drastically improve the quality of the squad?

Leeds are worse off without Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips.

Jesse Marsch and Victor Orta have, however, been handed the funds to sign a number of international players who, while lacking in Premier League experience, have shown incredible potential in their leagues across Europe.

But Leeds still need at least one more player – a striker would be perfect.

Many have been linked but none excites us more than Ivan Toney of Brentford.

The Sun reported via their website on Saturday night (16 July) that Marsch sees Toney, 26, as a “perfect” partner for Patrick Bamford as he’s looking to play with two up front next season.

Toney proved he can shine in England’s top-flight as he scored 14 goals in 37 appearances across all competitions – and also supplied six assists.

The former Newcastle striker, dubbed “phenomenal” by Brentford chairman Cliff Crown in May 2021, can be a massive asset for Leeds.

However, iNews reported on 18 July that it would take an “astronomical” bid to force the Bees into selling their prized asset.

Only offers around £40million would be considered and that would smash Leeds’ current transfer record that was the £27million outlay on Rodrigo in 2020.

If Radrizzani really wants to give Leeds fans a parting gift, this would be in.

Toney would be a game-changing signing for the Whites and it’d no doubt help us stay in the Premier League for years and years to come.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites can sign this “excellent” left-back for £20million.