Leeds United 49ers takeover set to go ahead if relegated but face 60% devaluation
Leeds United go into their make-or-break final day clash with Brentford facing major consequences if relegated according to Kieran Maguire.
The Whites must better Burnley’s result against Newcastle or they will drop back into the Championship next season.
That is pending any legal challenge they or the Clarets decide to bring to against Everton after The Times reported on Friday they had threatened to do, over the Toffees’ financial losses.
Finance expert Maguire told The Times that United would face a loss of £70million-£80million if the final day doesn’t go their way, which would be a “big blow to Leeds’ desire to progress as a club” and threaten plans to expand Elland Road.
He believes it will not however threaten the proposed takeover by 49ers Enterprises, who currently own 44% of the club to Andrea Radrizzani’s 56%.
Maguire said: “Leeds being relegated might have an impact on the timing of a full takeover, and the price that is paid, but not necessarily on the takeover itself.
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“I’ve spoken to Paraag Marathe [the president of 49ers Enterprises and the Leeds vice-chairman] and he seems completely committed to the project. They have spent too much time on the club to pull out on the result of what is effectively a one-match pistol fight on Sunday.”
But Maguire says they will “regret their failure to invest in the squad” if they go down, as the club’s value would fall by around 60% from between £250million and £300million to approximately £100million.
While it is perhaps a relief to hear that Marathe remains committed whatever Sunday’s (22 May) outcome, the numbers that will go begging provide a stark contrast.
It is impossible to say what difference it would have made if money was spent in January, and there is still a chance it is ultimately moot after the final fixture.
But amid the injuries, the suspensions, and the reticence to let young talents take the reins it surely wouldn’t have come to this point if the squad had been strengthened when it was crying out for it.
Former manager Marcelo Bielsa no doubt played a role in that, but having made the controversial decision to remove him less than a month later it is easy for the blame to be pinned on him by the club in his absence.
Radrizzani will be cursing the events of the last six months if he ends up losing out on millions in the sale price based on a lack of expenditure mid-winter.
Perhaps the 49ers use the money they look set to save in the takeover to fund a return to the top flight and the grand plans get back on track.
But at the very least it will be a significant setback and a major missed opportunity if all the good work from the last few years is undone in this way.
In other Leeds United news, one big-money Whites player bewildered Phil Hay in the last match and was apparently the cause of the crowd unrest.