LONDON: Southampton has become the latest European club to fall into Chinese hands after owner Katharina Liebherr sold 80pc of her club shares to businessman Gao Jisheng,.

Gao is paying £210m to take majority control of the Premier League outfit.

Liebherr, in a statement, said: “Following extensive and fruitful work, we are entering into a partnership with the Gao family and I am excited about what we will achieve together.

“This is the start of a new and exciting chapter for our club. Mr Jisheng Gao and his daughter, Mrs Nelly Gao, with whom I have built a close relationship, share our values and ambitions.

“As a team, we will strive to build upon the strong foundation that is in place towards sustainable long-term success.”

The remaining 20pc remains with Liebherr, who inherited the club in 2010 from her late father, Markus.

Southampton is the third Premier club – after Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion – and seventh English outfit to welcome investors from China as well as Italian giants Milan and Internazionale.