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Saints deal near

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Southampton have received an improved offer from Lander Sports Development to buy a 100 per cent stake in the club for £190m.  The Chinese development company has proposed a phased takeover in which it would initially buy into the club before taking over full control.

Katharina Liebherr, the club's owner, rejected an offer of £180m in January.   Negotiations are now believed to be at an advanced stage.    The sale is being handled by the Zurich office of the international bank, UBS.

Liebherr's willingness to sell stems from her belief that Southampton require additional investment to cement their current position as a top ten Premier League club and her desire to spread her assets across a wider portfolio.

Southampton reported healthy financial results for the year 2015-16 last week, with post tax profits of £4.9m and an increased turnover of £124.3m.  There are, however, debts of almost £50m which were a factor in the negotiations.

Lander would be the second Chinese owner in the Premier League after Guochuan Lai's takeover of West Bromwich Albion last year.