sport

Cortese set to leave Saints

Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese is understood to be set to leave the Premier League side.

However, sources have told Sky Sports News that Cortese is not in talks with any other clubs, despite having been linked to Italian sides.

Cortese, a 45-year-old former Swiss banker, has helped supervise Southampton's rise from League One to the top flight, where they currently lie ninth, having finished 14th in their first season back last term.

However, it has been widely reported that Cortese has a slightly troubled relationship with the owner, Katharina Liebherr, who became trustee of the club when her father Markus died in August 2010.

Cortese reportedly came close to quitting in the summer over concerns about his contract and the long term direction of the club.

He was persuaded to stay on but now seems set to stand down, although there is no clear time scale for his departure.

The news will be seen as unsettling by Southampton fans, particularly as manager Mauricio Pochettino has said he might leave if Cortese departed.