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Chairman Gao has no readies


Southampton fans have contacted me to express their concerns that their new Chinese owner, Chairman Gao, has no money to invest in the club having borrowed large sums to acquire it.   Given that from the perspective of now minority 'partner', Katharina Liebherr, the whole point of the takeover was to provide much needed investment, this has to be a concern.   Instead of going to the next level, the Saints may find it harder to stay at the present one.

The £210m takeover was reliant on at least three other investors.  Nanyang Commercial Bank, a Chinese-backed Hong Kong bank, is understood to have loaned Gao a significant portion of the purchase price. Several investors from Macau also contributed.    Macau has an equivalent status to Hong Kong within China.  A major gambling centre, the one time Portuguese colony has a somewhat dubious reputation,

Gao's backers are demanding a return on their investment and will not grant him a transfer budget, so they may need to continue to rely on player sales.    Manager Mauricio Pellegrino has been told that he must continue to sell players before he can buy.   This may affect the club's determination to keep hold of Virgil van Djik given interest from Chelsea and Liverpool.

In their most recent accounts for the financial year ending June 2016, Southampton recorded a post-tax profit of £4.9m, but that was reliant on the sales of Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne for a combined £37.5m the previous summer.   The Saints made almost £50m from player sales last summer and that will form part of their next accounts.