German tax investigation may lead to Southampton sale

It has been revealed German tax investigators are looking into the tax liability of Markus Liebherr, the late father of Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr.

Markus entrusted Katharina with the running of the South Coast outfit after his death in 2010.

The investigation

After hearing allegations that Markus spent more time in Germany than was previously thought, authorities are looking into the claims to assess whether they have a case to prosecute beneficiaries of Liebherr’s estate.

The industrialist claimed Zurich was his main residence before his death, however he also had property in Germany.

The investigation is focused on those who received payouts from Liebherr. Katharina Liebherr is not under investigation but as she was the biggest beneficiary of the will, an unexpected tax bill would undeniably increase pressure on her and may force her to sell the Saints to another investor. 

Potential new owners

Rumours have been circulating over the last few months about a potential takeover at St. Mary's, however all bids for the club have fallen short of Liebherr's valuation.

Lander Sports Development continue to discuss the possibility of a proposed £190 million purchase of the club. However, Chinese owner Gao Jisheng has been accused of corruption, which has lead to Premier League officials voicing their concerns over the takeover.

The latest revelations from Germany may lead to the Saints board pushing through the sale before the new campaign gets underway in August.

Puel in danger?

Since the end of the domestic season, manager Claude Puel's position at the club has been under scrutiny, and despite media focus being shifted onto the hierarchy at the club, his departure is still being discussed by fans and pundits alike.

Southampton's eighth place finish seems to have fallen short of fans' expectations and large sections of the St. Mary's fanbase have called for a chance in dugout in recent weeks.

Former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel is the latest to be linked with the post, despite Southampton board members insisting Puel is going nowhere.