Southampton chairman Jisheng Gao could be set to suffer a huge blow at St Mary’s this summer, as CEO Martin Semmens is being touted as a potential replacement for Ed Woodward at Manchester United.
According to talkSPORT journalist Alex Crook, United have already begun their search for Woodward’s replacement, with both Semmens and Norwich City’s Stuart Webber admired.
Woodward had worked as executive vice-chairman with the Red Devils since 2012 but resigned last week as he could not support the proposed Super League plans.
The Old Trafford side were already expecting his exit, as he had already announced his intention to leave at the end of the season, but the Super League debacle clearly accelerated his plans.
Therefore, United will be certainly be looking to add a new executive vice-chairman ahead of next season and it seems as if Semmens could well be on their list.
Semmens has been CEO since Gao became the chairman in June 2019 and has been in charge of the day-to-day running of the club since then.
Although Southampton lost £76m in 2020 as a result of the financial impacts of the pandemic, it is suggested that the South Coast club usually lose money on a day-to-day basis and then cover those losses with the sale of players, which other than Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, didn’t really happen last summer.
Semmens has a decent record of bringing in quality players, with the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters, Ibrahima Diallo and Danny Ings all joining on permanent deals under his tenure.
Woodward was often criticised for his transfer decisions at United and you can see why those at Old Trafford might want to bring in someone of Semmens’ experience and expertise in making smart deals in the transfer market.
In a summer where a rebuild looks to be a must for Southampton, it would be a huge blow for the club to lose such an influential figure, as it could have serious implications on the deals they are looking to complete.