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Phil Hay: QSI’s plans to buy Leeds United is nowhere near being close



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Elland Road

Qatar Sports Investments have been linked with an interest in buying Leeds United since last year, and the cordial relationship between QSI chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has continued to fuel speculations that a deal could be on the cards.

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t allowed negotiations to continue like they ought to, but they could resume with the English Championship expected to follow the Premier League in resuming its campaign next month.

Leeds are top of the division and are huge favourites to seal top-flight promotion with nine games left, and the Elland Road club will definitely become more attractive to QSI if (more like when) that happens.

A Leeds fan was keen to know how likely a sale is after promotion, and The Athletic’s Phil Hay shared the impression both sides have given him when he asked about an update: “It’s very hard to say. That rumours continues to float around but whenever I speak to anyone on either side (Leeds or QSI), it sounds nowhere near being close.

“But given how well Radrizzani and Al-Khelaifi know each other (and the way in which both of them keep giving this story legs) it would be no surprise if something happened at some stage.”

As at last November, QSI believed that Radrizzani overvalues Leeds’ worth a little bit given his £100 million-plus asking price, but things are set to change post-promotion, and the club will definitely be worth more.

Al-Khelaifi wants the purchase of shares to eventually lead to the acquisition of a majority stake, and while Radrizzani is open to investment offers, it remains to be seen if he will be keen to completely let go of the side after promotion.

The Italian bought 50% of Leeds’ shares in January 2017, buying the remaining 50% after four months.

He wormed his way into the hearts of the fans after completing the purchase of Elland Road the following month, making the stadium property of the club for the first time since 2004, and it doesn’t appear that he will be willing to leave after three years.