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Chinese group in talks over Southampton investment: owner

London (AFP) – Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr has confirmed the Premier League club are interested in potential investment from a Chinese group.

Lander Holding announced its intention to buy a stake in League Cup finalists Southampton to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Thursday.

The news came less than 24 hours after Claude Puel’s team reached the League Cup final by beating Liverpool in the semi-final second leg at Anfield.

Talks over a reported £200 million ($251 million) investment have been on-going for several months and Liebherr, who inherited the club from her late father Markus, has written to fans to explain the situation.

“I am writing to you in relation to an announcement made in China today about Southampton Football Club and Lander Holding,” she said in a statement.

“Please understand that I can only make limited comments regarding this process but I can assure you that any steps we do take will be in the best interests of the club.

“A potential partnership would need to clear multiple approvals and fulfil strict criteria before being confirmed.

“The Premier League is increasingly competitive; we need to keep moving forward and look to new markets for commercial growth, innovation and to share our journey.

“Together we have had many years of progression and success, and ensuring this continues is the main focus of any possible partnership.

“I cannot thank you enough for the continued support you give Southampton Football Club, and it makes me so proud to think we will soon be experiencing a major final together at Wembley.

“I hope you enjoy what will be a brilliant day for our club and look forward to a successful future together.”

Southampton, currently 11th in the Premier League, would become the latest English top-flight club to benefit from Chinese investment after Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion.

Second tier Aston Villa and Wolves also have Chinese owners.

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