Nicola Cortese’s Saints future is set to be resolved by the end of next month.
The executive chairman’s role is under threat due to a natural break in his contract this summer that allows him to walk away from the club, or for the Liebherr estate to replace him with minimal compensation.
Even if Cortese does depart, there is no indication that the Liebherr family intend to withdraw their support for Saints.
Instead, it is believed they would appoint a replacement to continue to oversee the club’s progress. As yet, there is no indication that the Liebherrs have offered Cortese a new deal, while the 44-year-old is also understood to be seriously considering leaving St Mary’s, with plans for the future direction of the club yet to be agreed between the two sides.
Both parties will be concerned over the uncertainty the situation could create if it drags on too long after the final game against Stoke at the weekend, with an important time of the year approaching.
Once the season is done, decisions are finalised over issues such as the club’s transfer policy, kits, ticketing prices and similar.
It is understood that Cortese is reluctant to push on too far with these plans until decisions are made regarding his future, as any calls he makes now could bind the hands of a potential successor. The Liebherr estate will also surely be aware that the matter needs addressing in a timely manner.
The Daily Echo understands that the issue will be resolved by the end of next month at the very latest, but there is a strong chance it will be concluded much quicker than that.
Cortese was brought into Saints as part of the takeover funded by the late Swiss billionaire Markus Liebherr in 2009.
During his tenure, funded by Liebherr’s wealth, he has overseen the club’s lavishly-funded rise from League One back to the Premier League where they are set to compete again next season.
However, the manner in which he has done things during that time has also earned him criticism.