Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani is reported to have offered Elland Road as collateral for a loan that would help with his takeover at Sampdoria.
Leeds do not own Elland Road, which was sold into private ownership at the height of the club’s financial troubles in 2004. Radrizzani purchased the stadium via one of his investment companies upon completing his takeover in 2017 and later transferred ownership to a new company in 2020.
The Italian has already confirmed this week that a Sampdoria takeover has been agreed. His company, Aser, is buying the Serie A side in conjunction with Gestio Capital.
A statement on Tuesday read: “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.”
But The Athletic has reported that the financial side of that deal affects Leeds, alleging that an agreement co-signed by Radrizzani and his bidding partner for Sampdoria includes Elland Road as collateral to borrow just shy of £26m from Italian bank Banca Sistema.
Although majority shareholder Radrizzani no longer owns 100% of Leeds as he did upon buying the club six years ago. His Aser Group controls 56%, with the remaining 44% owned by 49ers Enterprises, the company that owns the NFL’s world-famous San Francisco 49ers.
Involvement from the 49ers originally took the shape of a strategic partnership launched in 2014, but the York family who own the American Football franchise bought a minority stake from Radrizzani in 2018 and upped their shareholding to the current 44% towards the end of 2021.
The Athletic report explains that the 49ers contingent had been unaware of Elland Road being used by Radrizzani to secure a loan. The terms of the deal would see the money repaid over two years but could be extended to 10. It is now said to be unclear if the agreement has progressed or if Radrizzani has taken a different financial avenue to go ahead with the Sampdoria acquisition. But he claimed in an email to The Athletic that the ‘deal has done by Gestio Capital’, rather than himself.
In the background, the 49ers are hoping to take control of Leeds and talks have been ongoing. The club’s relegation from the Premier League could complicate matters, however, with the value of a Premier League significantly higher than that of a Championship team.