Leeds United have a new co-owner, as of today.
The Chmapionship side have confirmed that Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani has purchased a 50% stake in the club, with Massimo Cellino staying on as co-owner.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 4, 2017
Leeds confirmed the news in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that Radrizzani, a prominent figure in the sports media industry over the past number of years, has been finalised and takes effect immediately.
In said statement, the new co-owner explained why he decided to invest in Leeds, paid tribute to Garry Monk and outlined his vision for the club going forward:
“I am delighted and proud to have acquired a 50 per cent stake in such a prestigious football club as Leeds United. I am excited by the challenge ahead and I will work alongside Massimo and everybody at the club to make Leeds United as successful as possible.
“I am making a long-term commitment to Leeds United and will work to bring stability through ongoing investment. I aim to bring sustainable growth. I won’t do anything that will put the Club’s future at risk.
“I am very impressed the job Garry Monk has done this season and I will do all I can to support him and the team moving forward.
“My immediate priorities over the coming weeks are to meet with Garry and the team; the Club staff at Elland Road and Thorp Arch; supporters’ representatives; former players and media.”
In a somewhat surprising development, Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol tweeted that it was a meeting with Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish that convinced Radrizzani to invest in the Elland Road club:
New Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani became interested in buying club after Kenny Dalglish told him at a lunch that Leeds had great potential
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) January 4, 2017
Sky Sports also revealed that the 42-year-old has an option to purchase the club outright in June, something that should please Cellino’s opponents massively.
Leeds fans will be excited bur understandably nervous about the the takeover – they more than anyone else know how about the perils of bad ownership. From Peter Ridsdale to Cellino via Ken Bates and everything else in between, Leeds have had a wretched time of it in the past thirteen or so years.
However, that could all be about to change, both on the pitch and off it. Garry Monk has the team playing some fantastic football and they are firmly in contention for a playoff place, if not better.
All in all, it could point to much brighter for the club.