American businessman Joseph DaGrosa has spoken publicly after backing out of a potential takeover deal of Southampton Football Club.
A report from the Athletic’s Matt Slater yesterday detailed how a deal could not be struck with differences in valuation of the club from DaGrosa and current majority shareholder Jisheng Gao, and it now appears that Saints will have to find other interested parties.
Speaking to Slater and the Athletic, DaGrosa said:
"“We took a really hard look at Southampton but we couldn’t reach an agreement with Gao and, ultimately, time kills all deals. We just had two different views of the world. It happens and it doesn’t make him a bad guy.”"
DaGrosa not ideal, but Southampton may need Gao to take a loss
Interestingly, Matt Slater’s informative report suggests that Jisheng Gao agreed a deal of around £150m to sell to DaGrosa at some point last year but that offer then dropped by £30m once the true effects of the Covid-19 pandemic became clear.
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Given that this would presumably mean a £60m loss on his initial investment, it would not make sense for Gao to sell at this price as a businessman. However, Saints will surely need him to take a loss to enable things to move on eventually.
Via a previous piece from the Athletic and Slater again, it was understood that DaGrosa wanted to build a network of clubs with a Premier League team like Saints at the centre. This has been seen with the Red Bull setup and the City Football Group.
Whilst this model would have presented an exciting change for some, it is unknown whether it would have caused the club to become unrecognisable and move away from their true values. American ownership will always be viewed with suspicion after the European Super League debarcle.
Ideally Saints and their fans would like an owner who is engaged with the every day running of the club. Markus Liebherr was the heart and soul of the club started its rise back to the Premier League from League One and his legacy lives on to this day.
Whether this is likely at Premier League level is unknown but it is important that progression is made on an ownership front in the near future.