Chinese Investment for Southampton FC

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese stadium builder Lander Sports Development; said on Thursday that it has agreed to buy a stake in Southampton Football Club, making it the latest English Premier League team to do a deal with Chinese investors.

Lander said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that it had signed an agreement with Southampton’s owner, Katharina Liebherr, to buy a stake in the soccer club’s holding company, without disclosing financial details.

The size of the stake in the club, which on Wednesday night beat Liverpool to reach the final of England’s League Cup, was not known.

Chinese entities and individuals have ploughed more than $3 billion (2.4 billion pounds) into overseas soccer investments over the past year or so, encouraged by avid fan President Xi Jinping who wants the country to become a soccer superpower.

Currently placed 11th in the English Premier League, Southampton would join Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers as English football clubs that now have Chinese investors.

Shares in Lander, which builds stadiums and organises sporting competitions, have been suspended since Oct. 14. Reports of its interest in Southampton began swirling last year.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh)

EFL Semi Final Cup Victory

Southampton have not reached the League Cup final just to make up the numbers, midfielder James Ward-Prowse has said.

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Southampton beat four Premier League sides, including their 2-0 aggregate triumph over Liverpool in the semi-final, en route to the final, where they will face either Manchester United or Hull City.

‘It’s something you find hard to describe. It means a lot to everyone and obviously us young lads that have come through the academy to play a part in that is great,’ Ward-Prowse said.

‘It’s obviously going to be a great day out, but it’s not something we’re looking to just participate in. We’re looking to go and win now.’

Goalkeeper Fraser Forster thanked his lucky stars, having almost fumbled midfielder Emre Can’s shot into his own net during Wednesday’s 1-0 win at Liverpool.

‘It wasn’t superb, it was self-inflicted. I thought I did enough to get there — the footballing gods were with me,’ Forster said.

‘Maybe that’s the luck we needed. We deserved it. We created a lot of chances and defended well.’

Southampton will turn their immediate attentions to Saturday’s fourth round FA Cup clash against Arsenal at the St Mary’s Stadium.