Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani has agreed to sell the club to the San Francisco 49ers for £170 million.
Andrea Radrizzani, chairman of Leeds United, has agreed to sell his stake in the club to co-owners 49ers Enterprises for £170 million.
The San Francisco 49ers’ investment arm purchased a 15% stake in Leeds in 2018 and increased it to 44% in 2021.
Radrizzani, an Italian, bought Leeds entirely for £45 million in 2017, although his stake has now plummeted to 56%.
Leeds United were relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the season and are now preparing for the Championship.
The previous agreement, which was contingent on their survival in the top division, was worth over £400 million, but talks resumed following their relegation to the second tier.
“Leeds United can confirm an agreement has been reached between Aser Ventures and 49ers Enterprises for the purchase of the club,” the club said in a statement.
“Both parties are still working out the details, and more information will be provided soon.” Our entire goal remains on returning to the Premier League as soon as possible.”
Following the club’s relegation, the Leeds United Supporters Club issued a statement declaring Radrizzani was “no longer an appropriate person to own Leeds United.”
“His behavior is appalling, and he risks never being welcomed at our club again,” the statement continued.”The sooner he goes, the better, and we hope the 49ers Enterprises offer is accepted.” The only way he can start to repair his reputation is to sell the club and the stadium right away.”
Radrizzani was popular with Leeds fans after manager Marcelo Bielsa led the club back to the Premier League. But the relationship disintegrated after he fired the Argentine, and he did not attend their final game, a relegation-clinching loss to Tottenham, while fans yelled for him to quit.
His Aser Holding Company just acquired a stake in Sampdoria of Italy.
This must be a fantastic agreement for the club – analysis
BBC Sport’s Simon Stone
Since Sampdoria acknowledged Radrizzani had bought a stake in the club, which had just been relegated to Serie B, this news has been expected.
The harsh reality is that, as charismatic as Radrizzani is, he lacks the funds to truly propel Leeds up the Premier League as the 49ers have.
It was believed that they would be able to escape again this term, but they just were not good enough, and not even interim manager Sam Allardyce could save them.
While no one wants to be relegated because of the uncertainty it entails, it does not have to be a disaster under the conditions.
Allardyce has left, as has Victor Orta, the director of football. Leeds is starting from scratch in terms of recruitment.
What they don’t have in the Championship is a level playing field. Given the parachute payments and their massive fan base, it would be quite disappointing if Leeds did not immediately return to the top flight.
The same might be said for Leicester and Southampton, placing real pressure on the two clubs that were relegated in 2021-22 but did not immediately return – Norwich and Watford.
There are structural issues to solve along Elland Road, which will be costly to modernize but is desperately needed. On the field, though, this transaction must benefit the club.