Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese is on the verge of leaving the south coast club, according to The
Cortese was reportedly considering leaving the club last year over disagreements with owner Katharina Liebherr, and Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino said at the time that he would also leave if the chairman were to quit the club.
The Italian has now reportedly told the club that he intends to leave, and based on Pochettino’s past comments this also therefore throws the future of manager Pochettino into doubt as well.
Talks between Cortese and Liebherr, the daughter of Markus Liebherr who died in 2010 – thus passing ownership to Katharina – have stalled, and Cortese is believed to be frustrated at the lack of clarity over the owner’s vision for the future direction of the club.
Pochettino arrived exactly a year ago, after popular manager Nigel Adkins had been axed. The Argentinian’s reign has seen Southampton start the 2013-14 season impressively, sitting third at one stage, but form has since dipped, with Saints finding themselves occupying ninth in the league.
The Liebherr family purchased Saints for a reported £14m in 2009, and with Premier League football practically assured for next season it is rumoured that the family could seek a sale – potentially bringing them huge profit.
Fulham were purchased earlier this season for around £150m, and so if the Liebherrs were to sell, and hope to command a sale price even similar to that, then they would be walking away with a large profit margin in their pockets.
Southampton were on minus 10 points in League One when the family arrived, and the time since has seen a large, ongoing investment in the club’s training facilities, and a return to the Premier League after a seven year absence.
UPDATE: The Daily Echo now states that the reports of Cortese having resigned are incorrect.