Belfast Telegraph

Saints 'won't sell young stars'

Southampton's new director Hans Hofstetter has insisted the club's financial situation means none of Saints' much-admired young England stars will have to be sold in the summer.

The club's holding company has announced annual figures which have seen revenues rise from £22.9million in 2012 to £71.8million last season, mainly due to Premier League broadcasting income.

Losses before income and tax were £6.6million, down from £11.9million - the club did not state the full losses after tax - while there is also an outstanding transfer debt of £27million.

Hofstetter insisted that players such as Luke Shaw, Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana will not be sold if manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to keep them.

He told BBC Radio Solent: "The most important point is that we are in a position where we do not need to sell any player Mauricio (Pochettino) wants to keep.

"We have a very strong squad and we are still in a situation where we are free enough to act quickly if quick action is asked from us."

Hofstetter was appointed as a director shortly after Nicola Cortese resigned as chairman in January, to be replaced by Ralph Krueger.

In a club statement announcing the annual results, Hofstetter said they had inherited a tricky financial situation but had plans in place.

He said: "Whilst I perceive that we have inherited a difficult situation financially, there are now clear and structured plans in place to progress the club and avoid a similar situation from occurring again.

"In the short time I have been at Southampton it has become abundantly clear that we are blessed with a staff that has all the necessary skills with which to progress, and now that we can supplement that with a strong board I am sure we will enjoy a successful future together."

Saints' annual results show that the club, which has an enviable record in bringing through players via the academy, will have spent more than £30million in re-developing the Staplewood Training Ground.

The wage bill increased to £47.1million last season from £28.7million, but the wage to turnover ratio dropped significantly to 65 per cent from 102 per cent.

The Liebherr family, who own the club, injected a further £12.5million last season, plus £2.2million in September, bringing their total investment to £52.7million.

Of that, £37.9million has been converted from ownership debt into equity shares and the club's net liabilities stand at £1.6million down from £32.4million.

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