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Soccer-Southampton say no pressure to sell despite transfer bill

Reuters

LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - Southampton are under no financial pressure to sell any of their talented young players despite owing 27 million pounds ($45 million) in transfer fees, a director of the English Premier League club said on Monday.

The Premier League's richest clubs are believed to be weighing up summer bids for Southampton players such as fullback Luke Shaw, midfielder Adam Lallana and striker Jay Rodriguez who have helped push the south coast team up to eighth place.

They are certain to have noted a line in Southampton's annual accounts saying that the club would have to repay 22 million of the outstanding transfer fees in 2014-15.

Southampton are also spending more than 30 million pounds on a training ground but director Hans Hofstetter said manager Mauricio Pochettino would not be forced to raise funds through selling his coveted players.

"The most important point is that we are in a position where we do not need to sell any player Mauricio wants to keep," Hofstetter told local BBC Radio Solent.

Southampton have established themselves in the Premier League after winning back to back promotions in 2011 and 2012.

Revenue more than trebled to 71.8 million pounds in 2012-13, underlining the value of a place in the Premier League. The club lost 6.6 million pounds last season, down from almost 12 million the previous year.

Southampton's renaissance has been underwritten by owner Katharina Liebherr who inherited the club when her Swiss father Markus, who bought the club in 2009, died a year later.

The Liebherr family has invested almost 53 million pounds in the club since the takeover.

($1 = 0.6011 British Pounds) (Writing by Keith Weir; editing by Justin Palmer)

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