Potential Southampton Takeover Hits Stumbling Block

Joseph DaGrosa’s potential takeover of Southampton now seems less likely due to Saints’ majority owner Gao Jisheng’s refusal to lower his asking price for the sale, according to The Athletic. DaGrosa is said to be considering alternative options in the Premier League, with Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, and West Ham United all thought to be options.

Southampton Must Lower Asking Price for Takeover to Happen

Joseph DaGrosa Set to Explore Other Options

Southampton are currently DaGrosa’s preferred option and the fact that the wealthy New Yorker’s Kapital Football Group paid Gao’s representatives a deposit to secure exclusive talks in 2020 is a signal of his intent. It has never emerged how much Gao paid to secure his 80 per cent stake in the club in 2017, to replace Katharina Liebherr as the club’s majority shareholder. However, The Athletic understand that it was in the region of £180 million to £200 million.

Gao is said to value the club at the higher end of that scale currently and is looking for £160 million to part ways with his stake in the club. However, DaGrosa does not believe the club is worth this much considering the current financial position of the club. This is due in part to COVID-19 and the loans that the Premier League club have had to take out in order to survive a difficult period, meaning that DaGrosa feels the club will be operating at a loss for the foreseeable future.

DaGrosa is said to value the club at around £50 million less than Gao, particularly as the club reported a loss of £76 million in the 12 months up until the end of June 2020. The Kapital Football Group’s period of exclusivity has now ended and Gao’s representatives are in discussions with other interested parties, with at least one other US-based group.

Joseph DaGrosa’s Red Bull Style Plan

Joseph DaGrosa is said to have ambitions to replicate the business model of Red Bull and City Football Group, who have acquired several clubs around the world to form a network of clubs under their control. DaGrosa believes he has a plan in place and the funding secured to make a move.

The Kapital Football Group are reported to want to take a mid-tier Premier League club to be their flagship club. They then have aspirations to create a group of clubs with three to five satellite clubs and a network of up to nine academies globally.

While DaGrosa has been in talks with Southampton, the takeover is still in relatively early stages of discussion and the American could still look elsewhere in the Premier League. Speaking to The Athletic, DaGrosa said: “Southampton are a good club but there are many other good clubs in the league.”

Previous Spell in Charge at Bordeaux a Concern

One thing that will concern Southampton fans should any forthcoming takeover bid be accepted is a previous spell as an owner of French Ligue 1 side Bordeaux. In 2018, DaGrosa headed up the £60 million takeover of the French club through his sports investment firm GACP Sports. However, only a year later GACP sold its stake in the club to their investment partners following disputes over losses and their strategy moving forward.

DaGrosa and his potential future Premier League will be hoping for a more successful partnership in future, however, Premier League fans may be sceptical over another network of clubs in the City Football Group mould.

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