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Dream, realistic, wildcard, Squawka Suggests: Who should replace Claude Puel at Southampton?

2017-06-17 20:30:02 | Author:Oliver Young-Myles | Source:One Score
Abstract:Despite leading Southampton to the EFL Cup final and a respectable 8th place finish in the Premier League, Claude Puel has been sacked after just one year in charge.

Considering the above and the fact that the Frenchman lost both of his captains – Jose Fonte to West Ham and Virgil van Dijk to injury – in January, the decision could be interpreted as a tad harsh.

On the flip side, however, the Southampton faithful never really warmed to the former Monaco and Nice boss, largely due to his negative substitutions and the team’s unimaginative style of play.

In recent times, Southampton have had to respond to their managers leaving of their own accord with Mauricio Pochettino departing for Tottenham in 2014 and Ronald Koeman agreeing to join Everton in 2016.

This time, though, the Saints board, including the influential Les Reed, have been proactive in sacking a manager which suggests they have someone else lined up who fits their profile and philosophy better than Puel.

Squawka has analysed some of the candidates linked to the vacant post at St Mary’s and rated them based on how likely they are to become the club’s fifth permanent manager in four years.

Dream – Thomas Tuchel

Southampton’s sacking of Puel demonstrates that the board possess serious ambitions to finish higher in the league next year which given they finished 15 points behind Everton in seventh will be difficult to achieve.

Someone that would match the Saints’ lofty ambitions is former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel who is available following his departure from the latter in May.

Tuchel, who is currently the favourite to take over according to the bookies, would appear to tick many of the boxes that Southampton are expected to look for in a managerial candidate.

Only champions Real Madrid outscored Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last season.

At 43 years of age, he is a young manager who has a proven track record for developing promising players, most notably Julian Weigl and Ousmane Dembele, and he is renowned for his innovative tactics and attractive style of play.

For Southampton, Tuchel would probably be as close as they could get to a perfect fit, but would he be interested in a move to the 8th best team in the Premier League after managing in the Champions League quarter-finals last season?

Realistic – Frank de Boer

Another young manager with a strong pedigree who is without a club, Frank de Boer’s name also features prominently on the bookies’ list of potential Southampton managers.

During five-and-a-half-years in charge of Ajax, De Boer enjoyed great success leading the Dutch giants to four successive Eredivisie titles between 2011-14, leading to speculation that he would leave to join a club in a higher calibre league.

Frank de Boer is on the lookout for a new job after leaving Inter Milan last year.

Eventually, he moved elsewhere signing for Inter Milan but he lasted just 85 days at the San Siro before being sacked in November – a short-lived stint that has seen his reputation take a bit of a hit.

While failure at Inter shouldn’t tarnish De Boer’s accomplishments in the dugout too much considering the mess the club have been in recently, he would probably be more inclined to join a club of Southampton’s standing than Tuchel.

It perhaps wouldn’t be a match made in heaven, though as despite winning trophies in Amsterdam, Ajax’s style of play under De Boer was often criticised by supporters for being bland and at odds with their traditional ‘Total Football’ style.

Wildcard – Mauricio Pellegrino

Southampton have turned to a La Liga based Argentine manager named Mauricio before and it is fair to say that went pretty well. Could Pellegrino follow Pochettino from Spain to the South Coast?

Like Pochettino, Pellegrino was a player of some repute, most notably playing for the brilliant Valencia side that reached consecutive Champions League finals at the turn of the century and won La Liga and the Uefa Cup under Rafa Benitez in 2004.

Pellegrino has put in plenty of graft since retiring as a player, assisting Benitez at Liverpool and Inter before becoming a manager in his own right at Valencia, Estudiantes, Independiente and Alaves, with whom he ended his playing career.

Mauricio Pellegrino has played a key role in developing young talents such as Theo Hernandez at Alaves.

It is his work with Alaves that has seen Pellegrino emerge as a highly-rated tactician, as he guided the club to 9th in La Liga and a Copa del Rey final in their first season back in Spain’s top-tier.

While Alaves were one of the lowest scorers (41 goals) and chance creators (276) in La Liga, Pellegrino massively overachieved and drew praise for his role in the development of the precociously gifted duo, Marcos Llorente and Theo Hernandez.

Squawka Suggests – Slavisa Jokanovic

Slavisa Jokanovic has been something of a nomad since becoming a manager, taking charge of seven clubs encompassing Serbia, Thailand, Israel, Bulgaria, Spain and England.

It is his spells in England at Watford and Fulham in the Championship, though, that has seen Jokanovic become one of the most highly-rated managers operating outside of the Premier League.

The former Chelsea midfielder was the man who achieved promotion for Watford in 2014-15 and he nearly repeated the trick last season by guiding Fulham to the play-offs after they had finished 20th the season before and lost star strikers Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele.

How Southampton and Fulham compared per-90 minute metrics last season.

One of Jokanovic’s strengths is maximising the potential of the players at his disposal as he did with the likes of Tom Cairney and highly-rated teenager Ryan Sessegnon at Craven Cottage last season.

Furthermore, Jokanovic teams are great to watch. Last season, Fulham created the highest chances (523) in the Championship, enjoyed the highest possession rate (57%) and were the joint-second top-scorers (80).

Southampton are sure to be seeking out a young manager who is savvy in the transfer market, good at developing homegrown talents and favours a possession-based brand of football and Jokanovic would certainly fit the bill. He deserves a shot in the Premier League.

Related Information:

Claude Puel Southampton