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Will Poch be the next to leave?
The Saints boss and his immediate coaching staff met with Cortese yesterday as the former executive chairman informed them of his dramatic resignation.
It is understood that Pochettino was prepared to back up his threat from the summer and quit too but was persuaded to stay on for Saturday’s game at Sunderland.
Pochettino has had a night to clear his head before facing the press at his scheduled weekly briefing this afternoon.
He is sure to be grilled about Cortese’s departure and is likely to be asked to clarify his own future after saying in the summer he would quit if his former boss was no longer at the club.
With no executive replacement for Cortese currently in situ, there is something of a power vacuum at the club.
If he is considering staying then Pochettino, whose current contract runs until the end of next season, will seek a raft of assurances from new non-executive chairman and club owner Katharina Liebherr.
With big clubs sniffing around several leading Saints stars during the transfer window this month the highly regarded manager will be keen to know all offers for his top names will be rejected. In turn his continued presence might convince any players who were considering their futures to stay.
The fallout from Cortese’s departure has revealed that he actually tendered his resignation in the autumn.
After he last threatened to quit in May an interim agreement was struck over the future of the club, and Cortese’s contract, which convinced both parties to agree a deal to keep the former Swiss banker at St Mary’s.
Discussions over a long term strategy for the club to replace the interim agreement had been ongoing between the two parties but a conclusion never looked likely from the start of talks, leading to Cortese offering to resign.
The Daily Echo understands that the major stumbling blocks were not financial but based on a potential sale of the club and the possibility that the Liebherr estate would place a representative on the board.
Talks continued while Cortese’s resignation sat pending until just before Christmas when the situation deteriorated further.
By yesterday it was clear to both parties that a parting of the ways was required.
At 7pm last night an official statement was issued that read: “Southampton FC today announces that club owner Katharina Liebherr has taken on the role of non-executive Chairman.
“This follows the resignation of Nicola Cortese.
“A search has begun for a Chief Executive Officer who will take over Mr Cortese’s executive duties.
“Katharina Liebherr said: “With great regret we have accepted the resignation of Mr Cortese. He has done a wonderful job at the club and we very much wanted him to stay.
“A search has now begun for a successor. In the meantime, it is business as usual and we will ensure that the manager, the team and all the staff at the club have all the help and support they need.”
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