Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl hopes the club’s lucrative new sponsorship deal can help give them an edge in what is expected to be a “hot” summer transfer window.
The Saints have announced an extension of their agreement with the Coingaming Group as main club partner for a further three years, which will see the Sportsbet.io brand continue on the front of the team shirts.
The deal is described as “the biggest sponsorship agreement in the club’s history”, which will also include the option for certain performance-based bonuses to be paid in cryptocurrency Bitcoin as Southampton explore different potential avenues for financial growth.
The partnership also continues to highlight the importance of safe betting, with schemes to encourage fans to consider the risks before placing a bet.
Hasenhuttl hopes the security of the sponsorship extension can only be a positive one as the club head into another busy summer recruitment drive.
“I know that there were always some discussions about taking a betting company as a main sponsor on the shirt,” the Saints boss said.
“But I think in this way to make such a deal in such a moment of the pandemic and in a situation where a lot of teams are struggling getting new sponsorships because all around there are issues with the economy, I think we can definitely be happy about that.
“And that means we have a little bit more safety in planning for the summer, because it will be a hot transfer summer for sure because I expect some big moves also in the summer, but a lot of teams are struggling with their finances.
“If you have that little advantage then you can make maybe a very early good deal, that helps you massively next season.
“For us, it is a very important long-term deal with a clear message, which is absolutely necessary.
“Every month we lose a lot of money because of the pandemic, because of having no supporters in the ground, it is very helpful if you have partners you can trust and this was a big step for us.
“It gives us a chance to invest in players that we need for the next season, because we have a few positions where we have big problems and big issues, so this gives us more alternatives for looking around.”
Hasenhuttl has been impressed by the attitude of Takumi Minamino as the Japan winger looks to make an impact during the final few weeks of his loan from Liverpool.
“The most important thing for him is that he gets a chance to play. We had so much rotation with injuries and everything that it was clear he would get a lot of game time,” the Saints boss said.
“At the moment it is a little bit more difficult, I think, but we like his quality. He scored a few good goals for us so far. I am happy to have him on the bench.”
Hasenhuttl confirmed there were as yet no expectations over whether the deal could be made permanent.
“We haven’t had any negotiations about that so far. We are not aware of what Liverpool’s plans are for him in the summer,” he said.
“The deal was simply to give him game time during the second half of the year. This is what we have done, until now, and hopefully he will get more chance to play.”
Southampton head to relegation-battlers West Brom on Monday night looking to build on last weekend’s 3-2 comeback win over Burnley.
Kyle Walker-Peters is the only fresh fitness concern after the right-back picked up a slight leg problem during training.
“You can feel the quality of the session is getting better because all the players are back,” Hasenhuttl said.
“That automatically gives you more experienced players on the pitch, so the quality is a little bit higher.
“This is good to see, good to watch and enjoyable every session.”