Southampton takeover news: Gao Jisheng 'open to sale' and 'things are on the table'

Southampton chairman Gao Jisheng

The Sun journalist Tom Barclay has alleged that Southampton chairman Gao Jisheng may be willing to sell the St Mary's outfit if the right buyer comes forward.

The Athletic has claimed that, for financial reasons, there is a growing need for Gao to sell his 80 per cent stake in the club.

What’s the latest news on a potential Southampton takeover?

In an interview with the Total Saints Podcast, Southampton chief executive Martin Semmens admitted it has been accepted behind the scenes that the club is in need of a new investment structure and “things are on the table, things could happen”.

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed that he is in constant dialogue with Semmens over the future ownership of the club, with the Austrian holding talks with the chief executive “nearly everyday”.

The ownership of Southampton has been brought back into focus after Premier League rivals Newcastle United became the richest club in world football thanks to their £305million takeover in October.

The Athletic's Dan Sheldon has also claimed Saints' biggest concern is the ownership of the club.

Southampton are unable to compete with the riches of clubs such as Newcastle and their club-record signing remains Danny Ings, who joined from Liverpool permanently in 2019 before leaving for Aston Villa earlier this year.

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What has Tom Barclay said about the situation?

Barclay believes a takeover could take place if Southampton can find the right buyer to take the club forward.

He told GIVEMESPORT: "Chief executive Martin Semmens went on the record saying that things could happen and that things are on the table regarding investment.

"I don't know whether that would lead to an actual takeover, although I feel like if that was a possibility and there was an interested party that made a lot of sense, that would be able to happen.

"The owner, Gao, isn't putting as much money in as he once did and would probably be open to selling."

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How long has Gao been at the club?

Gao spent close to £210million to acquire his stake in Southampton four years ago, making the purchase from Katharina Liebherr after she inherited control of the club from her late father, Markus, in 2010.

He is the south coast club’s majority shareholder and boasts control of 80 per cent of the Premier League outfit’s assets.

Gao put Southampton up for sale in March last year, slapping an asking price of £250million on Saints.

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It was then reported a month later, by the Daily Star, that Gao had already slashed his valuation by £50million as he was eager to find a buyer.

However, the Chinese businessman remains at the helm and, earlier this year, American Joseph DaGrosa pulled out of talks to purchase Southampton after failing to agree a price.

Gao has an estimated net worth of £2.49billion.

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