Leeds owner open to further San Francisco 49ers investment

Radrizzani says Leeds will look to follow Sheffield United's model to achieve Premier League success by focusing on adding "quality over quantity"

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani admits the club needs 'additional investment' if they are to be competitive in the Premier League following their promotion from the Championship.

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has welcomed further investment into the club from the owners of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, but insists he wants to remain at the helm for at least another 10 years.

Leeds were promoted on Friday to mark a return to English football's top flight after 16 years away, and the Italian businessman is aware securing the club's Premier League status could require more funds than are currently available.

Radrizzani bought Leeds from Massimo Cellino in 2017 and the following year took the club into a "strategic partnership" with the 49ers, in which the US franchise would share business practices, while also purchasing a 10 per cent stake.

Asked whether further outside investment in the club was likely, Radrizzani said: "Yes definitely.

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 11:  Robby Anderson #11 of the New York Jets makes a catch against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadi
Image: Radrizzani says Leeds can learn from the 49ers' expertise in developing their stadium

"Also because unfortunately… obviously we are happy, we enjoy the fantastic success we have achieved, but we have done it in a particular year that the impact of Covid is hitting the club financially.

"So we will need additional investment to be competitive and to continue our project, and maintain the league. So we will need to add on I think."

Another element of the deal that saw 49ers Enterprises invest in the club, was the company's president Paraag Marathe joining the Leeds board of directors.

Also See:

Pressed on whether talks had taken place since Leeds' promotion over further investment from the 49ers group, Radrizzani said: "We haven't talked about that.

Paraag Marathe of the San Francisco 49ers addresses the audience during an ESPN leadership dinner at Levi's Stadium on May 22, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Image: 49ers Enterprises president Paraag Marathe is on the Leeds board of directors

"They have done a good deal investing in the club with me. Because they see their investment already worth 3.5 times higher in terms of value than what they put in. But obviously they are good friends, a good partner.

"And they think, like myself, they could bring more value of the managing of the club in the Premier League than what has been done until now. I expect them to step up and help us more… particularly with stadium, or merchandise, or activities they do very well in the US."

Despite admitting that outside investment is required, Radrizzani is adamant that he will be staying at Elland Road for the foreseeable future.

"Everybody thought that I would sell after I achieved Premier League," he said.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The Leeds players celebrated being crowned champions with flares and champagne after their 3-1 win at Derby.

"I always said what I believe, that I wouldn't sell probably if I wouldn't (reach the) Premier League, but in this case I would love to stay another 10 years or more, maybe 20. I'm still young so I don't have any rush, I'm enjoying it."

Although Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa is likely to be given funds to invest in his playing squad over the summer, the club hierarchy appear to be wary of making to many changes the team that secured the Championship title.

Radrizzani is keen to follow the example of fellow Yorkshire side Sheffield United, who have exceeded expectations to sit eighth in the Premier League with two games remaining, having relied heavily on the players that got them promoted from the Championship last season.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says it is 'incredible' to have Marcelo Bielsa in the Premier League next season after Leeds' promotion from the Championship.

Asked which previously promoted side's Leeds' approach was most likely to mirror, Radrizzani said: "I would say most similar to Sheffield United.

"It's not only about the money. I think it's important we keep the structure and foundation we've built over two years. You don't get all the points we have got in two seasons and you don't stay up in the top three of the table for two years consecutively if you don't have a good foundation and good players so I think we need to continue with this group without changing too much.

"Because also in the past teams who have changed too much are not succeeding. So why to change if already have a good, competitive team.

"Definitely quality over quantity. We are very careful to identify the players with the right characteristics in the positions that we need. But also that they fit the character of the players in our group. We put as a priority to defend the spirit of the group that we've created. You can see the players are very united and it's very important we prioritise that in our management."

Super 6: Who makes play-offs? Who goes down?

Super 6: Who makes play-offs? Who goes down?

Do not miss your chance to land the £250,000 for a sixth time this season on Wednesday. Play for free, entries by 6pm.

Around Sky