Southampton in negotiations over £200m Chinese takeover - report

Southampton could become the fifth English football club to be taken over by a Chinese company, Bloomberg has reported.

Saints were "in exclusive talks to be taken over by Lander Sports Development Co. of China," the financial news organisation reported, citing sources close to the situation.

Bloomberg said Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr had been in discussions "for several weeks" and that a deal could be worth as much as £200 million.

A Southampton spokesman said he was not aware of any negotiations, while there was no comment from Lander Sports Development Co.

If a deal goes through it would be the highest-profile Chinese acquisition to date.

West Bromwich Albion and Championship clubs Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City are also owned by Chinese investors.

And in December 2015, a consortium of Chinese investors paid £265m for a 13 percent stake in the parent company of Premier League side Manchester City, MLS franchise New York City FC and A-League club Melbourne City.

Southampton are currently ninth in the Premier League, having taken 13 points from 10 matches.

Bloomberg said Lander's interest in the club "may have been stimulated by the team's successful youth academy," with players including Gareth Bale, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw having come through their ranks.