Relegation has become a real prospect for Leeds United heading into the final few games of the season and doubts have started to creep in over their future at the boardroom level…
According to the ever-reliable Beren Cross of LeedsLive, relegation is not part of the 49ers Enterprises’ plans at Elland Road and their future involvement and subsequent investment could depend on what league the Whites are competing in next season.
‘Paraag Marathe was in the directors’ box alongside Orta, Kinnear and Dallas on Wednesday night. The vice-chairman cannot be at every match because of his San Francisco residence and 49ers obligations for much of the year.
‘This was the first time he had been seen at Elland Road for several months and as the face of the 49ers investment vehicle, his opinion counts hugely. Future strategy on how the NFL franchise does or does not invest further in United is driven by Marathe and his colleagues.
‘Slipping out of the Premier League less than two years after the Championship trophy was lifted at Elland Road was evidently not a part of their five-year plan in this relationship. Whether Leeds survive or go down, Marathe and the 49ers must play an important role in learning lessons from an abject 21/22.’
It took Leeds 15 years to make their return to the Premier League, so you can pretty much forget about an instant comeback, even more so without the investment from the 49ers Enterprises.
After finishing in the top ten in their first campaign back last term, relegation would surely have been unthinkable for many around west Yorkshire, and that only fueled the involvement of the American party last year.
“We have a three to five-year plan to reach the level we aim, and by staying in the Premier League for a few years we could aim to have a renovated stadium that could become a symbol of our ambition,” current chairman Andrea Radrizzani said in an interview with The Times’ Martyn Ziegler.
Their stake in the club had increased to 37%, whilst The Athletic believe there is a deal in place which could see the 49ers seal Leeds for a fee in excess of £400m by January 2024, but that is surely dependent on their top-flight status as their value will drastically decrease in the Championship.
Dropping back into the second tier would also cause a knock-on effect in terms of the transfer budget, to transfer targets such as Brenden Aaronson – who won’t want to swap the Champions League for the Football League – and maybe even a change in the dugout.
Currently sat in 18th position, tied on points with Burnley after another abject defeat but with a worse goal difference, those around Elland Road must be absolutely worried about what may lie ahead.
It’ll be even worse to miss out on this exciting opportunity from the 49ers.