Southampton are set to be the next Premier League club to be bought by foreign investors with a rumoured £190 million takeover imminent. Katharina Liebherr, the Southampton’s owner, is close to selling the club to Lander Sports Development, a Chinese property development company. Lander had an initial offer rejected in January and are determined to become the second club owned by Chinese investors following West Bromwich Albion’s takeover last year.
It’s no surprise to see wealthy owners fighting over Southampton, they’re one of the best run sides in the Premier League.
The club is heading in the right direction. In each of the last three seasons, the club has finished in the top eight. This season also saw the Saints compete in Europe for the first time in over ten years and narrowly lose in the EFL Cup final to Manchester United.
Southampton have shown the value of the country’s best youth system with the likes of Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers and Adam Lallana recouping millions for the club. Jack Stephens, Sam McQueen and Josh Sims are making headlines and look to be the next young stars off the production line. First team stars James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond have now been called up for their first England caps joining Fraser Forster and Ryan Bertrand in the senior squad. No Premier League club has more players in Gareth Southgate’s squad than Southampton.
The club’s enviable recruitment ensures the club never misses its star players whenever they’re moved on, Italian striker Graziano Pellè replaced Rickie Lambert when he signed for Liverpool and now new signing Manolo Gabbiadini has replaced Pelle.
Southampton are impeccably well run from top to bottom. The St Mary’s stadium is one of the best grounds in the top flight. Virgin Media, Southampton’s shirt sponsor, are subsidising ticket prices for every away fan travelling to the St Mary’s Stadium for the 2016/17 Premier League season to just £20. But perhaps most remarkable of all, Southampton’s wage bill is the eighth lowest in the Premier League. That’s even more surprising when you remind yourself that three of the seven clubs below them were promoted this season.
Liebherr has been looking for new investors for some time in a bid to take the club forward and it’s hard to think of a better club in the Premier League to invest in right now than Southampton.
The turnaround the club has managed since their days in League One has been incredible. In 2009, the club were plunged into administration with a ten point deduction. Now they are on the cusp of a multi-million pound takeover with a bright, young and talented squad. New investors could potentially pump millions into the club. Hopefully any new takeover pushes Southampton to a new level allowing the Saints to march on to greater heights.