Some Southampton fans will have been looking on in envy as the news broke of Newcastle United’s takeover by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund on Thursday.
The Magpies’ owners are now said to have a personal wealth of around £320bn – a figure that is bigger than any other club in world football after £305m was paid to take the club from previous owner Mike Ashley.
This is all going on while other Premier League clubs, including Southampton, try to sort their own situations and enable more frivolous spending in the future.
What is important to understand is that Southampton will want specific type of person to take over from their current owner Gao Jisheng when the right offer is made.
Do Southampton want billions in the bank like Newcastle?
Sure, Saints will want access to as much money as possible when they eventually strike a deal with a new investor. However, significant money comes with significant power and this is already starting to be seen at Newcastle.
Magpies boss Steve Bruce is said to be threat as the new owners start to take control of things at St James’ Park and big names are being linked with his job. Other things will be being torn up as this article is written as the intent of their club changes within 24 hours.
Southampton will want good money invested but will want much of the structure of the club to stay as it is.
Always key to the plan at St Mary’s is the academy and the club would not be the same for anyone associated with it if that was discarded. A sacking of one manager and appointment of another can see plans ripped up and this would be less than ideal on the South Coast because of the links to youth production.
Southampton are in the middle of a process right now and have made some big steps to improve the quality of players that emerge from their youth setup, with Matt Crocker putting a number of things in place that will hopefully start to bear fruit in two or three years.
New investment always allows for bigger spending of signings but a Saints signing has to leave space for academy talent to feed in around. Improvements in quality but no tearing up of what makes the club unique, whilst retaining those vital links to the community around the club.
This article is by no means a criticism of Newcastle as a club. If there is one fanbase that deserves to dream big, then it is them – they seemingly have no strong additional ties to their academy, though.
What Saints will be wanting is a person like their Markus Liebherr. Someone willing to buy into an ongoing project and put their money where their mouth, but someone who will also keep things settled.
The identity of Southampton Football Club is completely different to others and that must be retained into the future.