June 1 – Leeds chairman, Andrea Radrizzani, is cornering the market in ownership of relegated clubs. The majority owner of Leeds United, who lost their Premier League status last weekend, has agreed a takeover of Sampdoria, who will be relegated from Italy’s top tier following the final round of fixtures this weekend.
In March a Genoa court gave Sampdoria’s owner Massimo Ferrero, four months of protection from creditors to sell the club.
Ferrero completed a takeover of the Serie A club in June 2014 for around €15 million which included assuming the club’s debt. The club had only spiralled further into debt that eventually became untenable, despite during Ferrero’s seven and a half years at the helm, Sampdoria establishing themselves as regulars in Serie A and achieving qualification to the Europa League qualifying rounds in 2015.
But they never managed to put their financial troubles behind them.
Late Monday the club’s board of directors received confirmation from Ferrero that they could sell the club late. Radrizzani and co-owner Matteo Manfredi have agreed to immediately provide €10-12 million with a further €30 million made available for future drawdown.
At the end of 2021 Ferrero was detained by Italian police as part of an investigation into events leading to four of his previous business ventures going bankrupt.
Having resigned from the club presidency at that time Ferrero said of the sale: “I sold Sampdoria. I haven’t ‘touched the ball’ for 18 months and the mistakes weren’t made by me.”
Radrizzani, via his Aser Group, and alongside Manfredi’s finance company Gestio Capital, have picked up the ball, and excitedly so. But perhaps not quick enough. The deal was not completed in time to avoid a 4 point deduction for the start of the 2023-24 Serie B campaign, due to the fact that the club still owing millions in back wages to players and coaching staff.
“It was a real battle, but we can finally say that we have made it. We are nothing short of thrilled to be able to announce that we have completed the acquisition of this extraordinary club. Samp’s history and badge are safe and my happiness extends to all of those who have suffered for these club colours,” said Radrizzani.
“From today we move on, and I personally can’t wait to get to work.”
Radrizzani, who bought Leeds for £45 million in 2017, had been expected to sell his 56% stake to American co-owners, 49ers Enterprises, which increased its stake in Leeds to 44% at the end of 2021 with a deal to take full control.
That deal had been planned to take place this summer but was contingent on Leeds staying in the Premier League.
Radrizzani now has a busy summer ahead plotting the future of two clubs.
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