Leeds United to Qatar: the deal is on

Leeds United to Qatar: the deal is on
2019-05-06 - 14:15
It's not a secret that Qatar want to expand their presence in European football, in view of the forthcoming World Cup that the small emirate nation on the Persian Gulf will host in 2022.

The man who is managing the operations to extend the range on behalf of the Qatari government is Nasser bin Ghanim Al-Khelaifi, businessman born in 1973 and chairman of Qatar Sports Investments (QSi), a subsidiary of the state-owned wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority that in 2011 acquired PSG, transforming them into the leading French club with one of the most important impacts on the transfer market.

Al-Khelaifi and Qatar are not satisfied with their investment in European football and they want to drive up their betting. In these days there have been many rumours around the interest of the Qatari businessman, who's even the chairman of beIN Media Group, for the takeover of AS Roma; many websites and newspapers reported of a meeting between Al-Khelaifi and James Pallotta, the American president of the Italian side (or one of the men acting on his behalf, according to the different versions of the story) and they should have talked about a possible deal with a €450 million bid. AS Roma already have important relationship with the emirate nation, having signed a €40 million sponsorship with Qatar Airways last year, with a deal that runs until 2021. And Rome is one of the new routes opened by the airline.
James Pallotta has denied having met the Qatari businessman and that an offer has been made. We will see what will happen: AS Roma are much involved in the construction of a new stadium that could become a reason to attract many potential investors.

But the interest of Qatar for European football doesn't end with PSG and AS Roma. As reported from the French newspaper L'Equipe, last Monday in Doha, Al-Khelaifi has met Andrea Radrizzani, president of Leeds United, in order to open a deal to purchase the English club. 

The 44-year-old Italian entrepreneur Radrizzani has been really disappointed by the Leed's defeat in the playoff for promotion to the Premier League and is thinking about the opportunity of selling the club. QSI sees Leeds United as a very important and profitable attempt to expand its business beyond that of the Ligue 1 giants PSG.

The two men have a good relationship going back several years, dating from when Al-Khelaifi, the head of BeIN Sports, and Radrizzani , a co-founder of M&P Silva which he has since sold, negotiated television rights, as reported from The Telegraph.

The first step of the deal is rumoured to be an acquisition of the 10% of the club by Al-Khelaifi, with the outlook of increasing QSI shares in order to become the owner of the Yorkshire side.

My personal sources confirm the truthfulness of the rumours, in the sense that the interest of QSI for Leeds is true and the negotiation is going on. We will see the next chapters of the story quite soon.

Emanuele Giulianelli