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Radrizzani on the brink of taking control and re-appointing Monk
Thursday, 4th May 2017 18:17 by Tim Whelan

Andrea Radrizzani is in the process of finalising his complete takeover of the club, and will meet Garry Monk next week to plan the way ahead.

Radrizzani currently holds 50% of the shares in the club, but his share purchase came with the option to buy the remainder from Cellino’s family business at the end of the season. The Yorkshire Evening Post are quoting a club source as telling them “Positive talks have been held between Massimo Cellino and Andrea Radrizzani over a full takeover of the club but no deal is concluded yet.”

But it is believed to be only a matter of time before the takeover is completed, as for some time Cellino has been tired of all the hassle he has brought upon himself during his controversial period in charge at Elland Road. When Radrizzani first arrived il Presidente said “He’s 20 years (younger) than me. That’s important because I’m getting a little bit old. For us he gives a longer future than you have with me.”

In contrast with the chaos of the Cellino era, Radrizzani intends to stability at the club by ensuring that a number of the staff have long-term contracts in place, and his first major decision will of course be the future of Garry Monk. Monk has been uncertain of his future during the last few weeks, even though the club have an option to extend his contract to the end of the 2017-18 season, but hopefully the delay is merely down to the change in ownership.

On Monday the ever unreliable Sun claimed that Radrizzani was going to replace Monk with a foreign coach after our failure to make the play-offs. But the Yorkshire Post has since reported that they have heard the exact opposite from sources inside the club, and the new owner will start talks with Monk next week, to discuss a new contract and plan a strategy for next season.

From Monk’s point of view, Leeds will have to meet his expectations with regards to funding for the summer transfer window and the retention of certain existing players. The current wage bill on the playing side lies somewhere between £12m and £13m – less than 50 per cent of the turnover recorded in the club’s latest set of accounts – and Monk would benefit from more financial clout.

Monk told the Yorkshire Post that he will be looking for further investment in his playing squad. “There’s a lot of things to talk about and a lot of things that need putting in place. I know what my views are on what the squad needs. Until we sit and discuss that and the club’s views on how to do it, it (Radrizzani’s thinking) won’t be clear. I know from working with this squad every day. I’ve got a clear understanding.”

“What we’ve done this season is make big strides - small steps at the start but overall big steps,” Monk said. “Next season is one where if done right and planned right, the club can have the best chance of fighting for the play-offs places or even automatic (promotion). That objective can come forward if everything’s done right and put in place.”

All of which sounds very positive, but expectations will be sky-high for next season after the big improvement in 2017/8, so we will have to hope that Radrizzani will provide the resources to back up Monk’s ambitions.

The Italian has already been busy bringing some further expertise into the boardroom in the shape of Angus Kinnear, currently West Ham United’s managing director, and former Real Madrid strategist Ivan Bravo as a club director. They should be a vast improvement on Cellino’s two rather unpleasant and unimpressive sons, who both served on the board during the time of the outgoing regime.

We’re all frustrated by Monk’s failure to take us into the play-offs this time round, but this was in part due to the lack of investment in the squad during the January transfer window. And we shouldn’t forget that we are likely to finish with a points total that would have been good enough to make the play-offs in 9 of the last 10 seasons, so he certainly deserves another chance.

Could it finally be that for the first time in over a decade we can look forward to a new season with a stable and well-financed club and a head coach with the talent to take us forward? We can but hope.

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