By Sam Stone

24th Dec, 2022 | 8:10am

Leeds United relegation 'risk' could lead to major 49ers takeover call

Phil Hay has detailed a “level of risk” involved in the 49ers’ purchase of Leeds United with the Yorkshire side’s Premier League status still under threat.

The Athletic journalist had previously suggested (Phil Hay Show, 18:29-19:05, 11 November) that Leeds were valued at around “half a billion”.

However, the Whites currently sit 15th in the table and are only two points above the relegation zone, having narrowly avoided the drop in the 2021/22 season.

Hay has since suggested, in the latest edition of the Phil Hay Show, that there would have to be a different negotiation should the Whites drop back into the Championship.

“I’ve always had it in my head that there’s absolutely no way the club can have anything like the valuation it has in the Premier League if they were to go down,” said Hay (30m, 47s, 23 December).

“There would have to be a different negotiation or different set price for Leeds as an EFL club as opposed to Leeds as a Premier League club and that seems to be the certain level of risk when it comes to buying midseason because they don’t have control over how the club operates in that season.

“There’s January where you can sign a player or two but the die is kind of cast over how the season’s going to go and the squad that you have and the strategy that you’re going to use.

“The summer always makes sense to me and if they did hold on until the summer I would totally understand that.”

Summer sense

It does make total sense for the 49ers to take control of the club in the summer. A January purchase could lead to there being an impact on Jesse Marsch’s transfer plans and the footballing operations for the remainder of the season.

Come the summer, there will be a clear idea of where Leeds lie in the footballing pyramid and will allow for the American enterprise to assess what the best course of action is to take the club forward.

It does appear that a move will take place in the near future, with The Times (9 November) suggesting the 49ers have now secured the funds to take hold of a majority share in the Yorkshire club.

Everybody associated with Leeds will be desperate for the takeover saga to come to end so a new era can properly get underway at Elland Road.

When the 49ers take control of the club, it will be interesting to see how they approach taking the club to the next level, with American business models usually conservative and associated with being self-sustaining.

In other Leeds United news, Liam Cooper is fit to start against Manchester City despite not being involved in the friendly against Monaco.