Cellino To Sell Leeds To Red Bull? Here's The Facts You Need To Know...

Red Bull gives you wins?
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Red Bull gives you wins?

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Not for the first time, there's been confusion surrounding recent events at Elland Road. As fans and players were preparing for Neil Redfearn's bow as permanent manager at Cardiff on Saturday, a story was published on the Daily Mail website that took everyone, including me, by surprise.

It claimed that owner Massimo Cellino was in talks with Red Bull about selling Leeds United.

Wow.

It was bylined John Edwards, (long-standing Mail reporter) initially, before being changed to David Kent (website journalist) in the afternoon. I'm not quite sure why.

I made some initial inquiries with an insider at the club and was told the story of a takeover was 'horses**t'. Phil Hay, the excellent Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent, spoke to Cellino and was told a slight variation - that it was 'bull***t'.

Yet further inquiries revealed that Cellino HAD been involved in preliminary talks with a representative of the global drinks giant.

Apparently the Italian is NOT interested in selling a club he has already put so much money and effort into (frankly I'd have been amazed if he was). But I was told he IS interested in bringing additional finance to Elland Road.

This could, apparently, even involve Red Bull taking a stake in the club - potentially by buying GFH's 25% stake (although this would obviously be their choice) as well as some of Cellino's shareholding. It was emphasised that talks were at a very early stage and that all of these possible outcomes were hypotheticals.

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The Italian does have the money to continue to bankroll the club, but has always been clear he doesn't like 'throwing money from the window'. He has lofty ambitions for Leeds - some of which are being thwarted at the moment - so any additional finance would come in very useful.

We know that he wants to buy back Elland Road, but has found it difficult to get a mortgage to help do this. And we know that he wants to build a new training centre.

I finally got a call from Cellino late last night, and he was very angry about the Mail story. This was mainly because he said he has absolutely no intention of selling the club and felt the story had undermined him in the eyes of the fans.

Yet he admitted he HAS been talking to someone purporting to be a representative of Red Bull (this purporting bit was a little confusing). This could potentially lead to the global giant investing in a new training centre for the club.

Cellino has never made any secret of his dislike for the current Thorp Arch training ground - too expensive, too far from his office at Elland Road and, in any case, an unlucky venue.

There have also been talks about possible investment in the stadium, although Cellino was at pains to point out that he would never allow the famous ground to be renamed.

He was also furious that the story of the Red Bull talks had been leaked to a newspaper. 'Who is the mole?' 'Who is trying to hurt me?' he shouted rhetorically.

Apparently Red Bull are also averse to news of their affairs and negotiations being leaked and were unhappy when this was done during preliminary takeover talks with the club last year, before Cellino was even on the scene.

This first appeared on Simon's blog