Radrizzani replaces chaos with caution on Leeds' EPL return

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

In this photo taken on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani holds a Leeds shirt, during an interview with the Associated Press in Lisbon, Portugal. Leeds is counting on Marcelo Bielsa leading the team in the Premier League while planning for a future without the enigmatic manager. In his second season in charge, the Argentine ended the teams 16-year exile from the worlds richest league by gaining promotion as Championship winners before his contract expired last month. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Andrea Radrizzani is trying to redefine what “Doing a Leeds” means.

The club that became a byword for financial mismanagement and boardroom turmoil has forged a new path under Radrizzani’s ownership that — combined with Marcelo Bielsa’s coaching acumen — has taken Leeds United back into the Premier League after 16 years.

Ahead of Saturday's opener against a Liverpool side that won the Premier League by 18 points, Radrizzani outlined in an interview why the newfound stability won't be risked with a return to the reckless spending that threatened the club's existence.

“For sure we can invest more,” Radrizzani told The Associated Press. “But I think we need to be sensitive how to go because it’s not always guaranteed that money brings results."

Leeds supporters know that all too well. From the highs of contesting the 2001 Champions League semifinals, Leeds plummeted into England's third division in 2007 while forced into administration, a form of bankruptcy protection.

Just avoiding instant relegation is this season's aim for the 1992 English champions.

“I hope we can stay in the Premier League for two years,” Radrizzani said. “After that first cycle of two years, I think we will be ready to step up and close the gap with the bigger teams. Obviously, my objective, if I look at a period of three, five years, is to be just behind the top six.”

A return to European competitions will have to wait.