Qatar Continues to Flirt With Leeds United

During Paris Saint-Germain’s match against Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League last Wednesday you probably didn’t notice Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani sitting right behind PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi (far right, above).

According to a report from The Athletic, Radrizzani attended the match at the Parc des Princes as a guest of Al-Khelaifi, which wouldn’t be all that interesting except for the fact that Qatar Sports Investments, the group that owns PSG and headed by Al-Khelaifi, has expressed an interest in investing in Radrizzani’s Leeds.

Last month, The Times reported that Radrizzani was considering three offers to help raise funds to make Leeds more competitive and put them on the same level as Manchester City.

This is a partnership that has been rumored for several months in fact. In May of 2019, Financial Times reported that Leeds would be Qatar’s way of getting into the lucrative market of English football.

With official reports from reputable media outlets, including the most recent just a few days ago from L’Equipe, and a sighting of the two executives together at a football match, there is definitely teeth to the idea of QSI investing in both Paris Saint-Germain and Leeds United.

Leeds United

George Wood/Getty Images

A potential deal appears to be a good way off though. First of all, The Athletic reports that the two sides differ on the valuation of the EFL Championship side. QSI values Leeds around €60-80 million while Radrizzani values the club closer to €115 million.

More interesting than valuation is the motive behind QSI’s interest in Leeds. As reported by CNN, Al-Khelaifi has been charged by prosecutors in Paris for alleged corruption over Qatar’s bid to host the World Athletics Championships in 2017 and 2019. PSG’s president through his lawyer denied all accusations.

In the report from The Athletic, it eludes to the idea of Al-Khelaifi and QSI using the Leeds investment as a way to threaten to leave France and take their millions with them.

If a deal does get done between QSI and Leeds, I don’t expect it to have a huge impact on PSG. The Qataris would only own a small percentage of Leeds and there won’t be a demand for the club to compete in the UEFA Champions League or even in the Premier League if they achieve promotion like there is in Paris.

So, don’t worry. You won’t be seeing any Neymar Jr. to Leeds United rumors any time soon but if QSI invests, it might be fun to have a little brother in England to root for.

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Tags Leeds United Nasser Al-Khelaifi