Despite the fact that Leeds United’s Premier League future is hanging by a thread following a 3-1 defeat to West Ham on Sunday, 49ers Enterprises are still interested in buying the West Yorkshire club even if they are relegated.
That is according to The Athletic’s chief Leeds writer Phil Hay, who provided further details on the status of the Whites’ takeover in an article written post-West Ham.
Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani currently holds a 56% stake in the club, yet is widely expected to sell his majority share to 49ers Enterprises – the business arm of NFL team San Francisco 49ers who hold a 44% stake – in the summer.
Now, with relegation from the top-flight looking highly likely given that the Whites sit two points adrift of 17th placed Everton with one game still to play, these takeover plans have been thrown into some uncertainty.
Not only would Radrizzani lose a considerable chunk of money selling the club as a Championship asset rather than a Premier League one making a sale less profitable, it is unknown whether the 49ers would be willing to buy a side residing in the English second tier rather than the top one.
Hay’s recent update will come as a relief to most Leeds United supporters – who are keen to see the current executive hierarchy leave the club – and be replaced by one of the 49ers making.
“Over the past couple of weeks, talks between majority shareholder Andrea Radrizzani and minority group 49ers Enterprises have intensified about how the boardroom will look if relegation bites,” Hay wrote.
“A deal for Radrizzani to sell to 49ers Enterprises is already in place should Leeds stay up but the Americans are keen on buying control regardless, and are actively discussing an arrangement which allows them to move to a majority position in the EFL.”
Leeds’ ability to secure their Premier League status is now firmly out of their hands, with only a win against Tottenham this Sunday – coupled with losses for both Everton and Leicester – being enough to save them.