Ronald Koeman’s departure, a few days ago, was a big shock for Southampton. With the Saints now trying to cover his gap by finding a new manager, who will be capable of continuing Koeman’s successful tenure.
After a two-year period, during which he helped the club return to the European competitions, the 53-year-old manager accepted Everton’s offer and will now try to bring the team back to the winning track.
On the other hand, it certainly is a déjà vu for Southampton, who see another manager leave the squad before the end of his contract.
In 2014, Mauricio Pochettino took over Tottenham, despite having a contract with the Saints, as Spurs paid five million euros to hire him. That said, Southampton’s administration would expect this wouldn’t happen with Koeman.
But, they were wrong, as Everton paid seven million euros and the Dutch coach has now left the squad, although it was likely he would take up their offer of a new two-year deal, making him the highest paid manager in the club’s history.
So, the side will now try to find the best replacement and hire a manager that will stabilise the Saints among the top teams in the Premier League. But, who exactly are the candidates to take over the squad?
Frank de Boer is targeted by Southampton regarding the squad’s bench, with the Dutch coach being capable of working with young players and enhancing their performance, whilst also having European experience from his time at Ajax.
In addition, there have been reports lately that Manuel Pellegrini is one of the favourites to take over the side, with the Chilean manager having left a great legacy in Manchester City, while Bournemouth’s coach Eddie Howe is also a candidate.
Moreover, former Chelsea and Tottenham boss, Andre Villas-Boas, is another option for Southampton, however the Portuguese may not be available, as he wants to take a six-month break after leaving Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Furthermore, with Unai Emery close to sign with Paris Saint-Germain, Rudi Garcia was reported as the main candidate, but there is nothing official yet.
Last but not least, there are rumours that Fenerbahce boss, Vitor Pereira, may also be in talks with the team, having won titles in Portugal with Porto and Greece with Olympiacos, however I think Pereira is not an ideal option for the club, namely a manager that can take them to the next level.
That said, I guess it’s a matter of time to find out who will be Koeman’s successor, with one thing being certain: the fact that he will need to deal with many changes in the roster.
More specifically, Viktor Wanyama is ready to leave the Saints and join Tottenham, while Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane may also leave during the summer transfer period, so the squad will need to find the ideal replacements.
In the end, no matter who the new manager will be, he will certainly have two difficult tasks to accomplish, namely to help the club 1) retain its presence among the top clubs in the English Premier League and 2) make decent performances in the Europa League.
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