Leeds United are due to be taken over by 49ers Enterprises on 1 July but the process is now “hanging by a thread” amid the threat of relegation, according to i News.
The American consortium has an option to complete a full takeover of the club before 2024 and discussions are at an “advanced stage”, with funding and stadium redevelopment on the cards once the deal is done.
But with the club in danger of relegation to the Championship the discussions may yet prove to be a waste, with the sale price of Andrea Radrizzani’s shares and responsibility for bankrolling a recovery likely to be thrown into doubt if the club doesn’t beat the drop.
Mark Douglas reports: “The tantalising prospect of a transformative summer is hanging by a thread.
“i understands the long-anticipated £500m takeover by American consortium 49ers Enterprises, currently minority stakeholders in Leeds, is at an advanced stage and is likely to be rubber stamped on 1 July if all goes to plan.
“That would herald a new dawn, with fresh funds and new impetus on the much-needed stadium expansion project.
“Relegation throws those plans into disarray because it knocks a chunk off the pre-agreed valuation and raises questions about who funds a rebuilding job in the Championship.
“The takeover could still happen if they go down, but the general feeling is that it all becomes much murkier.”
The club also just announced a 10% rise in season ticket prices, with the increase to be refunded if they go down.
Leeds United have been on the brink of this deal for so long that to fall in the final weeks before it is finally set to be completed would be a massive blow.
Even if a takeover does go through following relegation the enthusiasm to spend big on vital elements of the plan is undoubtedly going to take a hit.
With the riches of Premier League safely behind them there is security to invest in the squad and the infrastructure but if that isn’t guaranteed in the second tier then it could be kicked down the road an indeterminate amount of time.
The Whites are currently outside the relegation zone on goal-difference after with Javi Gracia’s belated arrival coincided with an appallingly-timed dry spell in front of goal.
Jesse Marsch just managed to succeed in avoiding disaster on the final day last season, but followed predecessor Marcelo Bielsa in being sacked in February with his team in trouble.
Having escaped by the skin of their teeth in the previous campaign the club are now in danger of falling into the exact same trap.
Money has been spent on the squad, but Marsch was backed strongly past the World Cup and the January transfer window, then suddenly fired.
The process to replace him was a calamity and Gracia hasn’t got much time to pick up the pieces, but the consequences if he doesn’t are evidently major.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites have returned to their favourite hunting ground to scout a teenage sensation who is in high-demand.