Chinese Investment and Leeds United: A Winning Combo?


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If we put the situation in mildest of terms, Leeds United supporters have not exactly seen eye-to-eye with Italian owner Massimo Cellino. Since acquiring majority ownership of the club in 2014, Cellino has caused controversy and frustration at seemingly every possible opportunity.

From managerial issues to problems with the media, miscues and missteps seem to be the order of business. While acquitted of recent tax fraud charges in Italy, he appeared to be at odds with everyone involved with the Football League and caused Leeds supporters much distress over the past few years.

With changes at the top taking place over the summer at Aston Villa and Wolverhampton, it appears that there is no shortage of Asian investors interested in the ownership of English clubs.

The idea of taking a second or third tier team up to Premier League glory is certainly enticing, especially with Leicester City giving everyone a chance to see dreams come true last season.

With rumours swirling recently that Leeds United could have significant interest from a Chinese investment group, we take a look at some positives and negatives that new ownership at Elland Road could bring.


The greatest positive this could bring for Leeds is an increase in funds for management, Academy and the team roster. Cellino has had difficulties in both areas, and a solid plan for building an organisation would be extremely helpful in returning to the Premier League.

We look no further than Manchester City and the investments provided by the City Football Group in 2008. While this is a bit of an extreme example as CFG seemed hell-bent on transferring every footballer in the world to their team, improving the talent in the first team and the academy would be an excellent step towards becoming a fixture in the English first division once again.


Practically, from the moment Cellino took over the club (and even before he officially took over), front office matters have always seemed to be in flux.

From former manager Brian McDermott’s unknown status with the team in 2014 to regular battles with the Football League and media, Massimo’s roller coaster ride controlling the organisation has left many supporters and pundits queasy.

A more solid leadership style could be provided by the possible new investment group. When attempting to build a squad up into the Premier League, difficult decisions must be made, and the future must be adequately prepared for. Cellino has demonstrated an inability to accomplish this for Leeds United.


With many positives to this possible change in ownership, it is important to highlight where foreign ownership could go wrong as well. Too many changes to players, managers, or club traditions could have a disastrous effect.

Vincent Tan’s takeover of Cardiff City can be seen as a cautionary tale in this regard. The successful Malaysian businessman gained a controlling stake in the Welsh club in 2010 and immediately made his presence felt, sacking managers in a very public way and changing the team colours from their traditional blue to a new red (along with adding a dragon too).

The club played one Premier League season in 2013-14 and was promptly relegated back to the Championship.

Leeds United supporters know that one season in the Premier League is not the ultimate goal. Promotion to the first division and remaining there is the top priority, and a change in ownership could kickstart that process in a big way.

Roy Emanuel
Roy Emanuel
Roy was born and raised in New York but now calls Arizona home. A passionate writer/editor focused on bringing quality content to those that love the beautiful game. La Liga, MLS and League Two always catch his eye. His work has appeared on MSN, FanSided, Last Word On Sports and other news outlets.


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