By Wayne Veysey

5th Dec, 2016 | 4:14pm

UFC chief sends Twitter message to Leeds fans about potential new owner Radrizzani

By Alex Stevens

Andrea Radrizzani has been hailed as a “very smart operator” by a director of hugely popular martial arts competition Ultimate Fighting Championship.

James Elliott, who is the vice president and general manager of the hugely popular UFC, delivered a message to Leeds fans on social media site Twitter to give a glowing endorsement of the potential new owner of the Yorkshire club.

Radrizzani broke cover last week to reveal that he is in advanced negotiations with current Leeds owner Massimo Cellino to buy a 50 per cent stake in the club.

It prompted a deluge of interest in Italian mogul Radrizzani, who has amassed his fortune principally through his role as co-owner of media rights group MP & Silva.

Elliott, who has worked closely with Radrizzani, told Leeds supporters on his personal Twitter account that Radrizzani is a “lovely bloke” and a “very smart operator”.

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He urged Elland Road followers to “keep your fingers crossed”, in reference to the Italian businessman’s revelation last week that he is close to securing a major stake in the club.

The Mail claimed on Sunday that Cellino is poised to ratify the takeover by his fellow Italian this week after a key clause was agreed as part of the deal.

It is said that Radrizzani has “negotiated a 50 per cent share with Cellino which is understood to include an option to buy the remaining 50 per cent should Leeds stay in the Championship”.

Leeds are flying high in the Championship after an impressive run of results that has lifted the club to fourth in the table and in contention to secure a return to the Premier League after 12 years.

Garry Monk’s side beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Elland Road on Saturday in what was the latest in a number of notable wins.

Leeds return to Championship action on Friday when they travel to Brighton in what will be the fourth out of five of their matches to be televised.

Monk’s side will leapfrog Reading and climb into third in the table, and to within five points of leaders Newcastle, if they are able to secure what would be a momentous sixth win out of seven league fixtures.

In other Leeds news, the club are closing in on a £3.6million January signing.