Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani spoke to a conference in London today, during which he claimed that he had received a few bids for Leeds, but that he had no interest in selling the club.
Radrizzani said that he saw Leeds’ potential as a top-eight “brand” in English football once the club returns to the Premier League. He also said that he now values the club at double what he paid Massimmo Cellino to purchase the club outright in May of 2017.
Leeds United: Owner Andrea Radrizzani has rejected bids for Championship club #lufc https://t.co/nF6EGrfUJO— Adam Pope (@apopey) October 10, 2018
Radrizzani, who is also the owner of Eleven Sports Broadcasting, has said he has sunk about £100 million into the club, which is about double what he paid Cellino for Leeds, which was reportedly a total of £45 million. He also welcomed the San Francisco 49ers of America’s NFL as co-owners this past summer.
Much of the difference in valuation of the club can be explained by the purchase of Elland Road back from property developers in July of 2017. There was a buyout clause in place for around £17 million that Radrizzani activated to repurchase the ground, but the negotiations were much more complicated than a simple buy out and Radrizzani has stated that the cost, in total, was around £20 million.
And while the cost might have been around £20 million, the ownership of the ground allowed the club to not only have to spend money on rent, which will pay for itself in about nine years, but it also has allowed the club to host other events at the ground that has resulted in additional revenue.
Elland Road has hosted an England match, a Josh Warrington fight, and even two Leeds Rhinos Rugby League matches, all of which bring additional income to Leeds United without any of that income having to go to a landlord. The club is also reportedly looking at opening a new training complex near Elland Road to replace Thorp Arch, as well as redevelopment in the area around the ground as well. Radrizzani also brought the Leeds United Ladies team back into the fold at the club.
Radrizzani’s time at Leeds has not been without controversy, as the club introduced, and then withdrew, an extremely unpopular new badge. Their have been links with Qatari owner Aspire Academy, the purpose of which has not always been 100% clear, and this past May, the club went on a post-season tour of Myanmar, which courted controversy and earned the club some bad press.
However, Radrizzani has also made it his express desire to get Leeds back into the Premier League, and made one of the highest profile hires in English football this past summer, bringing in former Argentina, Athletic Bilbao, Newell’s Old Boys, and Club América manager, and living legend, Marcelo Bielsa to manage the team. So far, everything has been going well for Leeds in the Championship, but time will tell if this, finally, is the year that the sleeping giant of English football is finally awoken and returned to the Premier League.