NEW owner Dragan Solak insists he would struggle to find a "better fit of a club" to purchase than Saints, adding: "My family said they haven't seen me so happy and excited about a business venture for a long time."

Billionaire Solak is the lead investor behind Sport Republic, the group which last month acquired former chairman Gao Jisheng's 80 per cent stake in Saints.

The Serb has attended both home matches so far since the deal was concluded. He was pictured wearing a Saints scarf during the 4-1 win over Brentford, before returning for Saturday's 1-1 draw against champions Manchester City.

In a rare interview, Solak explained to the Guardian why he opted to invest in Saints.

"It would be difficult for me to think of a better fit of a club,” he said.

“It’s a club that likes to develop players, it’s a club that’s engaged, it has a great fanbase, a very family-oriented club and a nice location.

“We will really try to give the club support to have really proper planning, management and development of talent. I can’t tell you how much money that would cost or not, but definitely we’ll give adequate support to the team."

New owners often want to install a new coach, as has been seen in the Championship this week with Hull City dispensing of Grant McCann, despite back-to-back wins over promotion-chasing Blackburn Rovers and Bournemouth.

Turkish businessman Acun Icali moved swiftly to replace McCann with former Rangers striker Shota Arveladze taking his place.

However, that does not appear to be the plan for Solak, who explained how he has quickly struck up a good relationship with Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has been in charge of Saints since December 2018.

“After spending some time with him, I can say I really like him and he’s really smart,” he said.

“He loves players, he loves spending time with players and loves developing players.

“Hopefully, with the increasing support that we would like to give him and the team, he should be able to develop it into really a top‑10 team.”

Saints have not finished in the top 10 of the Premier League since Claude Puel's sole campaign in charge, in the 2016-17 season. That came on the back of three successive top-10 finishes, under Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman.

Prior to that, the only other time Saints had finished in the top 10 of the Premier League came in the 2002-03 campaign under Gordon Strachan, where they also reached the FA Cup final.

Saints currently sit 12th in the table, one point off 10th-placed Leicester City.

Reflecting on his move to Saints as a whole, Solak concluded: "My family said they haven’t seen me so happy and excited about a business venture for a long time, so I guess it must be a good investment."