JOSEPH DaGrosa has pulled out of talks to buy Saints after failing to agree a price with majority owner Gao Jisheng, according to a report in The Athletic.

The American businessman is understood to have been in discussions to purchase Gao's 80 per cent share in the club since last year, but he says he has now moved on to other interests.

Speaking to The Athletic, former Bordeaux owner DaGrosa said: "We took a really hard look at Southampton but we couldn’t reach an agreement with Gao and, ultimately, time kills all deals.

“We just had two different views of the world. It happens and it doesn’t make him a bad guy.”

He added: “While looking at opportunities in the Premier League and La Liga, we continued to think about the platform and how best to create a return on investment.

“What’s become clearer to us is there is a huge opportunity on the player development and trading side, so we have changed direction slightly. Whereas the initial plan was more club-centric, we are now going to be player-focused.

“We want to get a lot of raw talent under our umbrella and become one of the leading player development platforms in the world.”

DaGrosa says he is now planning to buy three "prominent clubs" in Belgium, Brazil and Portugal, before linking them to three academies in Africa (Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Senegal) and three in South America (Bolivia, Colombia and Uruguay).

The Athletic's report goes on to say Saints' search for outside interest in the club continues, but former Lille owner Gerard Lopez is "not considered to be a realistic potential buyer".

When asked by the Daily Echo about DaGrosa's initial reported interest, Saints declined to comment.