Leeds target Euro football after San Francisco 49ers buy another £50m stake in Premier League club

LEEDS UNITED hailed a £50m megabucks deal with the San Francisco 49ers – and set their sights on the top six.

The 49ers increased their stake in the Premier League new boys to 37 per cent after the club was valued at £280m.

It means their total shareholding is now worth £103m.

Talks will urgently begin to secure Marcelo Bielsa's long-term future with a massive transfer war chest on offer this summer.

Owner Andrea Radrizzani, who bought the club for £45million in 2017, now wants to repeat Leicester City's stunning rise.

Unveiling his blueprint the Italian said the club was aiming for European football by 2024.

He told SunSport: "Our model is Leicester City. We have shared this a lot internally.

"If there’s a club I admire for what has been done in terms of football management, it’s Leicester.

"Our plan is ambitious. We see our objective very clearly. We want to build the club to be just next to the top ones.

"We have a clear and common goal together.

"It is important to stay in the Premier League and now with our friends in San Francisco we have more opportunities.

"We need to close the gap with the top clubs and make much more revenue for more opportunities in the transfer market.

"We have a timeline of five to seven years to build something relevant in the world of football and that's what we want for Leeds.

"We want to build the modern club and we have a plan."

He said Leeds aims to challenge the top six in the coming years by doubling revenues.

He added: "Realistically we're looking at Europa League football in the next three to four years – that's what we need to work for.

"The journey to be there is still long. I give it five to seven years for the Leeds United I dream of."

Andrea also announced plans to renovate Elland Road to become "a symbol of our ambition and modernisation".

49ers chief executive Paraag Marathe, who becomes vice chairman, said: "This is a powerful club with a remarkable history that has such strong bones to be one of the most recognisable brands in all of the world in global football.

"This is clearly a club that belongs and this is just the beginning of a long journey.

"This isn't just about a quick fix.

"This is about building something that outlasts mine and Andrea's careers.

"This marks the beginning of what we see 20, 30, 40 years from now as Leeds matriculates to being one of the best and most powerful clubs in the world.

"This is not a flash in the pan where we just hang on by the laces of our shoes.

"This is somewhere we want to be here to stay, and as we are more competitive to compete within Europe and bigger tournaments that brings with it more financial resources as well.

"We have the knowhow, the people, the expertise and the blueprint to go through that exercise of putting a plan together and executing on that vision.

"This is everybody's club and I feel a great deal of responsibility to guide it towards success.

"This is just one step of the journey. By no means have we arrived and by no means are we at the end."

The deal was reached after months of negotiations.

It is unlikely that funds will be released before the January transfer window closes with Bielsa notoriously reluctant to buy in the Winter.

The 49ers paid £11m for a 15 per cent stake in the club in 2018 and already have execs on the board.

Marathe went on: "The skies the limit for Leeds."

Leeds are the latest Premier League club to see major investment from NFL franchises.

The Glazer family, which owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has controlled Manchester United since 2005.

Arsenal is backed by the Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Fulham is owned by Shahid Khan, who also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Champions Liverpool is controlled by Fenway Sports Group, owner of baseball’s Boston Red Sox.

Crystal Palace and most recently Burnley have also attracted American investment in recent years.

Source: Read Full Article