The San Francisco 49ers could exercise a clause in their deal with Leeds United which could see them buy the Premier League club by 2024.
The group that funds the NFL this year increased their stake in United to 37 per cent in January before acquiring another seven per cent last month.
The deal would see Leeds United and their stadium, Elland Road, sold for between £400m and £475m.
The figure put on the value of the club would include the group’s existing stake – meaning the investors would need to find around £200m for the deal to be completed.
The investor group is led by 49ers executive vice president Paraag Marathe and includes a vast swathe of investors from multiple sectors.
The story, first reported in The Athletic, also suggests that if the business owned by current United majority stakeholder, Andrea Radrizzani, buys any other football club on the planet before the deal cut off – in January 2024 – then the proposed deal with 49ers Enterprises becomes void.
Radrizzani’s initial investment in Leeds United was said to be £100m in 2018, so the figure of £400m plus would be an exceptional turn around.
Comparatively, Newcastle United were purchased this year for £300m and ‘Czech Sphinx’ Daniel Kretinsky’s 27 per cent stake in West Ham values the Hammers close to £700m.
Leeds United fans have described the potential takeover as “terrifying”.
The deal is currently possible and must be completed before January 2024, but that doesn’t mean it is going ahead.
Leeds United are currently 14th in the Premier League table, level on points with Crystal Palace and Southampton – though Palace has a better goal difference – and next play on Saturday away to Chelsea.