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The owners of the San Francisco 49ers are ready to take control of relegated Leeds United, according to reports. And the West Yorkshire club’s current owners appear to have paved the way for a possible deal after Andrea Radrizzani reached an agreement for his Aser Group and Gestio Capital to take over historic Italian outfit Sampdoria on Tuesday.
The Genoa-based club have also just been relegated, from Serie A, but a statement confirmed that an agreement had been reached with 777 partners to complete the takeover.
It said: “It was a real race against time. A long and exhausting negotiation that only saw its positive conclusion on the evening of Tuesday 30 May.
“Matteo Manfredi, principal of Gestio Capital and Andrea Radrizzani, chairman of Aser Group, express all their satisfaction for the closing of the operation that led them to the acquisition of Unione Calcio Sampdoria. It was a real battle, but we can finally say that we have done it. We are nothing short of thrilled to be able to announce that we have completed the acquisition of this extraordinary club.”
Radrizzani has been Leeds’ majority shareholder since 2017 and must now decide how to move forward after United’s demotion to the Championship was confirmed following a sorry 4-1 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
According to The Athletic, the club’s minority partner 49er Enterprises has already tabled a takeover offer to Mr Radrizzani but at a significantly lower valuation. However, Phil Hay has reported they will ‘push now to agree and seal’ a takeover after the latest development.
49ers Enterprises currently own 44 per cent of the club. Radrizzani must decide whether to accept an offer based on a considerably lower valuation than earlier in the season or risk riding it out for the long haul.
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While to the two parties continue to negotiate over just who will own Leeds United going forward, planning for next season remains uncertain.
Chief Executive Angus Kinnear has started the search for a new manager and has reportedly already held exploratory talks with prospective candidates. But the reality is that the appointment of a new man in the Elland Road dugout cannot be made until the ownership situation is resolved, one way or the other.
Meanwhile, The Athletic reports that Kinnear has told the club’s general staff that they will avoid redundancies and wage cuts despite being relegated back to the Championship.
However, members of the playing squad could see their wages slashed by as much as 60 per cent as they readjust to life outside the riches of the Premier League.
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