Nicola Cortese has sensationally quit as Saints chairman tonight, after a day of speculation and rumour.

He will now be replaced by Katharina Liebherr, daughter of the late Markus, as non-executive chairman.

A statement issued to the Daily Echo said: "Southampton FC today announces that club owner Katharina Liebherr has taken on the role of non-executive Chairman.

"This follows the resignation of Nicola Cortese.

"A search has begun for a Chief Executive Officer who will take over Mr Cortese's executive duties.

Katharina Liebherr said: "With great regret we have accepted the resignation of Mr Cortese. He has done a wonderful job at the club and we very much wanted him to stay.

"A search has now begun for a successor. In the meantime, it is business as usual and we will ensure that the manager, the team and all the staff at the club have all the help and support they need."

More on Nicola Cortese: