Just a month after unveiling their new kit for the 2020/21 season, Southampton have been rocked by the news that Chinese shirt sponsor LD Sports are set to walk away from their contract this summer.
The Saints agreed a club-record deal with LD Sports last year which was expected to rake in £7.5m per season until 2022, and everything was going so well that Southampton unveiled their all-new kit for the upcoming season just last month.
However, the club now face the prospect of missing out on the remaining £15m as the Daily Mail note that LD Sports have indicated they intend to terminate the agreement after just one year, with the search already underway for a replacement.
The Chinese company are well within their rights to do so as there was a break clause included in the contract, but the Saints now fear they could be forced the begin the new season without a sponsor if a suitable replacement cannot be found.
LD Sports have grown concerned with the political relationship between China and the UK, while the current financial climate is obviously not the best for lucrative investments.
Blackburn Rovers have found themselves in a similar boat as Chinese sponsor 10 BET have brought their agreement to an end, and one unnamed Premier League side has also been made aware that their contract with a Chinese company is under threat.
Southampton are looking for somebody to replace LD Sports on their shirts, and it is understood that there will be a plan in place to help fans who have already bought the new kit, which may well be outdated after just a few weeks.
LD Sports' decision to pull out comes as the Premier League find themselves in their own battle with Chinese broadcast partners, with the league facing the prospect of losing out on millions of pounds in TV income if the deal collapses.
Rights holders Suning Holdings are yet to pay the £160m which they were scheduled to pay in March, and Suning's request to see the contract extended by three years to cover the losses caused by football's suspension was unsurprisingly rejected.
Source : 90min