Southampton are unlikely ever to compete at the very top of the Premier League if their owners continue to pursue a self-sufficient model.

That is according to finance guru and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after Southampton’s humiliating 9-0 loss to Manchester United on Tuesday evening.

Southampton have enjoyed a largely positive 2020-21, says Maguire, but the decimation at the hands of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side was indicative of a long-term problem faced by the club.

Maguire’s fellow spreadsheet wiz Swiss Ramble explained in a recent Twitter thread how Saints owner Gao Jisheng wants the club to sustain itself rather than rely on external investment.

But while this approach might be good for a club’s financial health, Maguire explains that it also has ramifications in terms of a club’s ability to compete with Manchester United and others in the upper echelons of the Premier League.

Asked whether this financial strategy limits how high a club can aim, Maguire told Football Insider“In other industries, it shouldn’t be a problem. But football is unique in that we’ve got two types of owners…

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“We’ve got the owners who have an eye on the financial issues and the other owners who don’t care.

“So if you’re in an environment where you’ve got Abramovich [Chelsea], Mansour [Manchester City], Moshiri [Everton], Edens [Aston Villa] and so on, the owners are happy to underwrite losses.

“But it does make it more challenging for clubs like Southampton where the aim is to be sustainable, it creates a glass ceiling.

“Sometimes you can punch above it. And Southampton have looked like they can do that at times, but I don’t think you can keep repeating that because you’re operating with one hand behind your back compared to the other owners.”

Southampton posted worrying annual losses of £76.1million in January.

The St. Mary’s hierarchy recently took out £78.8m bank loan from MSD Holdings at a rate of 9.14% in order to cover pandemic-related losses.

In other news, a top pundit has urged Arsenal to sign a Southampton player whose contract expires in the summer.