June 13, 2024

LEEDS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 21: Andrea Radrizzani Chairman of Leeds United prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brentford at Elland Road on August 21, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

New Sampdoria owner Andrea Radrizzani seems unwilling to leave Leeds United but insists ‘change is needed’ after relegation from the Premier League.

The Italian entrepreneur acquired a majority stake in Sampdoria on Tuesday, buying the club from Massimo Ferrero. His purchase has literally saved the Blucerchiati who were on the verge of bankruptcy after relegation to Serie B.

Radrizzani completed the deal with Matteo Manfredi and said on Tuesday: “From today we move on, and I personally can’t wait to get to work.”

Questions have been raised over his future as Leeds’ owner, and the 48-year-old appeared to confirm with an official statement that he’s not planning to leave. However, he added that “change is needed” and that the club “need a clear strategy to continue our vision for the club.”

Radrizzani revealed he will make “key appointments in different areas of the club” after relegation from the Premier League.

Both his clubs – Leeds and Samp – will play in the second division next season. The Blucerchiati will likely start the 2023-24 Serie B campaign with a four-point deduction because the club still owes millions in back wages to playing and coaching staff members.

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Leeds: Archie Gray could replace Luke Ayling

The teenage talent has shown his versatility in a new role for England U17s.

However, the Elland Road outfit could find an unlikely replacement for the ageing Englishman in 17-year-old Archie Gray, who emphasised his versatility by featuring as a right-back for England U17s earlier this week.

Could Gray replace Ayling at Leeds?
While Gray has featured mainly as a midfielder for Leeds’ academy, his age means that he could still be shaped into a defender or an attacker depending on where the Yorkshire outfit feel he can develop best.

He does have previous experience as a defensive midfielder so won’t be scared of making a tackle, while his impressive goal against Switzerland emphasises the ability he would have as an attack-minded full-back.

Gray has trained regularly with the first team without ever making a senior appearance but he could be one youngster to benefit from the relegation to the Championship, as opportunities will surely be easier to come by.

After he travelled with the first team at just 15, Jamie Redknapp tipped him to be a “tremendous” player in the future when speaking on Sky Sports (via MOT Leeds News), while journalist James Marshment also hailed him on Twitter after he signed a professional deal.

He said: “Great to see Archie Gray tied down, an unreal talent who has every chance at making it big. The Gray legacy at Leeds now very much into its third generation.”

Any new prospective manager at Leeds will be made aware of Gray’s potential and versatility, as he could be a viable long-term option for the Whites in either midfield or right-back, but given they could also lose Cody Drameh to a Premier League club this summer, the latter should be the priority position for the Yorkshire side.

Ayling was ranked as the ninth-best performer in Leeds’ squad this season with a shocking 6.55 average rating from WhoScored, while no player was dribbled past more often per game, which emphasises his defensive vulnerabilities and his role in the Elland Road outfit’s immense struggles at the back, which saw them concede more than any other side in the top flight.If Leeds want to avoid a repeat next season, they should consider a different option at right-back, and Gray’s displays for U17s might just see him considered.

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