• Thursday, June 20, 2024
businessday logo


Joe Aribo’s Southampton return to Premier League with £140m windfall 


Super Eagles midfielder Joe Aribo will be back in the Premier League next season as Southampton clinched promotion with a 1-0 victory over Leeds United in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on Sunday.

The match, often referred to as the richest game in football, offers a financial windfall estimated at £140 million, according to Deloitte.

Adam Armstrong’s decisive goal secured the Saints’ return to the top flight after a year in the Championship.

Southampton, along with Championship winners Leicester City and second-placed Ipswich Town, will join the Premier League teams next season.

Leeds, who narrowly missed a late equalizer when Dan James hit the crossbar, experienced their sixth consecutive play-off failure.

Aribo featured in the starting lineup for Southampton and played the entire match. This was the third meeting between Southampton and Leeds this season, with the Saints winning all three encounters, each time with Armstrong scoring.

Armstrong’s first-half strike at Wembley marked a pivotal moment, erasing the disappointment of last year’s relegation and securing an immediate return to the Premier League.

The victory provides Southampton with a substantial financial windfall due to increased matchday, broadcast, and commercial revenue.
Financial experts at Deloitte estimate that Southampton could potentially earn up to £305 million if they avoid relegation next season.

While the financial rewards are significant, the prestige of competing against top teams like Manchester City and Arsenal also motivated Southampton’s drive to regain their Premier League status.

Saints, whose only major honour is the 1976 FA Cup, had spent 11 years in the Premier League before their recent relegation. The club and its fans, who celebrated in large numbers at Wembley hope the success marks the beginning of another extended stay in the top flight.

In their first-ever play-off final, Southampton managed to win all three matches against Leeds this season despite finishing three points behind them in the regular season.

Manager Russell Martin has been widely praised for his passing principles, leading Southampton to more possession than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues this season.

For Martin, this victory was particularly sweet, as he previously managed in League One with Milton Keynes Dons just three years ago and was dismissed by then-Norwich manager Daniel Farke in 2018. Securing promotion at Farke’s expense added an extra layer of satisfaction for the Southampton boss.