The 2019-20 campaign was “last chance saloon” for Leeds United – it’s a good thing Andrea Radrizzani’s “massive gamble” paid off.
That is according to finance guru and Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after Leeds released their annual financial report on Sunday.
Leeds won promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years in 2019-20 but the figures showed a £62.4m loss for the season.
Radrizzani broke the bank to hire manager Marcelo Bielsa who earned a reported £3m per season when he joined on a two-year deal in 2018.
His salary is likely to have risen after signing a new deal in September and the accounts show that the club’s overall wage bill stood at £78m in July 2020.
These costs are sky-high for a then-Championship club, explains Maguire.
He told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams: “If they hadn’t been promoted, I think they would have been selling the likes of Kalvin Phillips and so on.
“They had a strategy to get promoted and it paid off. It was a massive gamble but a calculated one.
“They came so close in 2019 and they knew they had one more season to get up otherwise the cycle would have to start again and the team would have to be disbanded.
“But they improved the squad a little bit in the knowledge that this was last chance saloon in terms of this cycle of FFP.”
Sports broadcasting tycoon Radrizzani bought a controlling stake in Leeds in 2017.
He has ambitions of turning the Whites into a top-six challenger and has talked of making Leeds a £1billion club.