Nicola Cortese is on the brink of quitting Saints.

The Daily Echo has been told that the executive chairman has suffered an ‘irretrievable breakdown’ in relations with the Liebherr estate who own the club.

In addition, sources close to the top of the club have today indicated that Cortese’s departure could come within a matter of days rather than at the end of the season.

However, reports this lunchtime that Cortese had already resigned are inaccurate.

The reason for the breakdown revolves around still largely unresolved issues from when Cortese almost went in the summer.

Back then an interim agreement was struck over the future of the club, and Cortese’s contract, which convinced both parties to agree a deal to keep the former Swiss banker at St Mary’s.

Discussions over a long term strategy for the club to replace the interim agreement have been ongoing but there appears to be some way between the two parties. That is prompting Cortese to again consider his future.

The Daily Echo has been told that even if the Liebherr’s agreed to all of his plans it may still be too late to convince Cortese to stay.

If he were to go that would inevitably place question marks over not only who would take over the running of the club but also the future of manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentinian stated in the summer that he would walk out if Cortese left, and has just a year and a half left to run on his existing contract. Talks over a new deal have yet to start.

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