Andrea Radrizzani intends to retain his controlling stake in Leeds United, according to club sources, amid rumours that Qatari Sports Investments is in talks over a full takeover.
Paris Saint-Germain owner QSI has long harboured an ambition to move into English football and, having watched PSG fail to make an impact in the Uefa Champions League since purchasing the French club in 2012, reportedly believes that second-tier Leeds United could represent a cut-price entry point.
The club is the only professional football team in one of England’s biggest cities, and retains a strong national and global following, but has not played in the top flight since relegation 15 years ago.
The Financial Times reports a source close to the talks as saying that QSI “will be entering English football, and Leeds is the club of their choice.”
Leeds already has strong connections to Qatar through a partnership with the emirate’s Aspire Academy, in place since 2017. Leeds director Ivan Bravo is also the head of Aspire’s development programme.
Sources close to the club have told SportBusiness that interest from numerous parties in Leeds is a constant, and that Radrizzani’s focus remains on supporting the club’s efforts to win promotion to the Premier League next season.
If a full takeover is off the table, QSI may consider acquiring a minority stake in the club in the short-term, similar to the deal that saw 49ers Enterprises take a 10 per cent shareholding in Leeds in exchange for a cash injection of £11m last year.
Having watched Leeds narrowly miss out on promotion in 2018-19, Radrizzani’s future at the club had come under question. Last week, he told the Financial Times Football Summit that the club would face a “difficult summer” as it attempts to balance the books and take another stab at getting out of the Championship next season.