Southampton may be relegation contenders in the near future and banks will be “looking at the risk” before they are willing to lend them money at a good rate.
That is according to finance expert and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after Southampton revealed they were borrowing £78.8million from MSD Holdings at a rate of 9.14% in order to cover pandemic-related losses.
Southampton are fighting for a European spot this season but have been given a far worse deal than clubs in a similar league position who have also taken out loans in 2020-21.
— PriceOfFootball (@KieranMaguire) January 12, 2021
Tottenham, for instance, took out a £175m Bank of England loan with 0.5% interest while Arsenal borrowed £120m at what is presumed to be a similar rate.
Maguire believes that, while Southampton are flying high this season, the long-term future of the club is not secure enough for the banks to grant them as favourable loan as they have for less financially vulnerable clubs.
Asked why the Saints were borrowing at far greater rates than Spurs and Arsenal, Maguire told Football Insider: “The difference with Southampton is that they wouldn’t have qualified for the same loans because they have been losing money in recent years and they wouldn’t have ticked the good financial management box.
“The Bank of England is looking at the risk involved when it considers these loans.
“Also from a risk point of view, they are having a fantastic season but if you were looking at the start of the season at the pool of clubs who could potentially go down, Southampton would probably be in that group.
“They have been fantastic so far and are deservedly at the top end of the division, but if I was a lender I might be thinking: ‘What happens if Danny Ings leaves in the summer? He’s been instrumental for them.’ If he and Ward-Prowse leave, you could see them being down there again.”
Southampton’s overall financial health is in a worrying state, with broadcaster rebates and the loss of matchday revenue hitting the club hard.
They recently posted losses of £76million, while turnover fell from £149.6m in 2019 to £123.6m in 2020.