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5 Managers who could take over at Southampton

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League
Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League

Since Southampton sacked Claude Puel, the current Leicester City manager, they have found life in the top tier of English football very difficult. Appointing Mauricio Pellegrino during the summer of 2017 looked to be a long-term vision for the club, but with that came major disappointment and the team has struggled on the pitch.

The much-travelled Mark Hughes took over from Pellegrini during the back end of last season and managed to save the club from a relegation to the English Championship. The problem is this season looks like it might go in a similar direction as last with the club almost certainly going to be locked in a battle to stay within the division, not exactly the aims that this group of players should be aiming for given the quality that they possess.

Hughes has plenty of experience managing at the top level with Fulham, Stoke and Queens Park Rangers amongst a host of clubs he has led in the Premier League, but despite this, he has not got the best out of this Southampton team and currently they look like a shadow of the team they could be.

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Hughes has struggled to make an impact at St Mary's since arriving

An opening return of 5 points from a possible 18, with 3 defeats from 6 games will already set alarm bells ringing both with supporters and with the Southampton board. In 17 games for the club Hughes has only 5 wins, (https://www.transfermarkt.com/mark-hughes/leistungsdatenDetail/trainer/1646/verein_id/180/datum_zu/2018-03-14/datum_ab/0000-00-00) and one of the most alarming issues especially for the rest of the season is that Hughes does not look like he knows what his strongest eleven is, or the best tactics to play with this team.

Away to Wolverhampton Wanderers is next up in the Premier League for Hughes and his team, fail to get a result and the pressure rightfully should be on Hughes and for his future at St Mary's. The Southampton board must surely have an idea of who could be in line to take over from Hughes if results do not improve and certainly if there is no improvement in performances.


#5 David Wagner

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Wagner has a rising reputation in the game

The current Huddersfield manager was linked strongly with the Saints job when the previous manager Mauricio Pellegrino was sacked earlier in the year, however, has stayed on with the Premier League strugglers. His current side is still winless in the Premier League, however keeping Huddersfield in the Premier League last season is still enough to merit his big reputation in the game.

The former Borussia Dortmund coach has won a lot of fans and experts over with his style of play and his ability to deploy tactics to his players, however, this season might just be a real struggle for his Terriers side who sit rock bottom of the Premier League after the opening six games. Joining Southampton would give Wagner the opportunity to work with an upgrade on players and the chance to build on his reputation within the English game.

The German manager could bring the possibility of playing a good attractive brand of football that the Southampton fans are more used to watching after the success of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman at the club. Prizing Wagner away from Huddersfield would certainly be difficult but a move that in the long term could certainly benefit the club.

#4 Quique Sanchez Flores

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The former Watford manager was highly popular at Vicarage road

The Spaniard had one season in the Premier League with Watford and was popular with players, fans and the media alike. The former Valencia manager was also in the frame to take over from Mark Hughes when he was sacked last season while at Stoke.

The record Flores has with Watford does not really do him justice, securing safety early in the season 2015/16 his side struggled in the back end of that season with safety all but secured. His Watford team then played a high press style, got the ball down and played to their strengths and defensively played compact. At Espanyol, Flores had the same impact, early on establishing the club within the league but could not push on past an 11th place finish.

Without a club, Flores could be an extremely good fit for Southampton, his classy approach and the way he conducts himself would be similar to previous managers in the past, but he would certainly have a structure and tactics in place for this group of players. There should be no hesitation from the Southampton board if Flores name is in contention to take over from Hughes.

#3 Claudio Ranieri

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Could we see Ranieri back in the Premier League

Certainly one of the most popular managers and characters in the Premier League era is Claudio Ranieri. The Premier League winner with Leicester has a vast amount of experience and would be a name that is linked with many jobs not just in England, but across the whole of Europe.

His most recent stint in Ligue 1 in France with Nantes is certainly not one to be remembered but also not one to be considered should Southampton be looking elsewhere from Mark Hughes. Ranieri would re-energize such a quality group of players and look to get the best back out of talents such as Cedric Soares, Wesley Hoedt and Fraser Forster. The Premier League winning season with Leicester showed just how good Ranieri is especially his player management and this is a factor that these Southampton would benefit from so much right now.

The much-travelled former Valencia and Chelsea manager would be available for Southampton board to consider, the question would be for how long? With Ranieri firmly being linked with the Roma job after they have suffered a very below par start to the season.

If Southampton were to go the direction of Ranieri, expect to see the club playing the traditional 4-4-2 formation, perhaps the best tactic available to this group of players currently available at the club.

#2 Brendan Rodgers

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Rodgers has been at Celtic since 2016

The former Liverpool and Swansea manager might actually be the first choice name for Southampton fans to take over at the club, given his style of play and his record. The current Celtic boss is currently going through a difficult spell in Scotland with his club right now as they look of the pace in the SPL.

The reputation of Rodgers has not diminished despite making the move North of the border, with many experts and fans of clubs across England still linking the Northern Ireland manager with jobs, most recently the Arsenal job that was available during the summer.

Southampton would perhaps be a perfect fit for Rodgers, with the reputation he has built for his style of play, it is a style that the club has always bought into and also the philosophy Rodgers has had with youth, which Southampton have a massive reputation of bringing through young players and developing them.

The biggest obstacle that would face Southampton is the magnitude of jobs Rodgers has had previously, coming close to winning the league with Liverpool, competing in the Champions League with Celtic, the club could not offer such opportunities to Rodgers.

They could offer the chance him to rebuild, however, achieve success with the club and build upon what already is a big reputation. What happens with Celtic might be the stumbling block if Southampton tries and go this direction for replacing Hughes, but Rodgers would be a perfect fit for the club moving forward.

#1 Rafa Benitez

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Speculation surrounds the position of Benitez at St James Park

Somewhat of a controversial name to take over from Mark Hughes should he leave St Marys, however, Benitez would almost seem the perfect man to take the job. The Spaniard does not currently seem to happy at Newcastle with the issues surrounding money and the lack of transfer activity, surely this would be a fantastic opportunity for Southampton to try and lure a manager of such experience and success to the club.

His style of play might not bring the supporters to the edge of there seats, but it is extremely effective and his knowledge of English football would certainly benefit the players currently at the club. It would take a lot of money to prize Benitez away from St James Park where he adored, but by then the popular Spaniard may have even left the club.

Certainly, Benitez could manage at a higher level than Southampton, but the same can be said of him managing at Newcastle currently. Taking on a project like this would be one that could bring the best out of both club and manager, as the Southampton board does back their managers in the transfer market and will show faith with what he is looking to achieve with the club.

How long Hughes lasts for will determined over the next few weeks, other names no doubt will be linked with the job at the St Marys stadium, Chris Wilder at Sheffield United could be a name that would be considered, Dean Smith at Brentford might be another Championship manager who could draw interest.

Could Southampton try and get Arsene Wenger? Former RP Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is still without a club could they move for the Austrian? Then, of course, the usual names of David Moyes and Sam Allardyce could get a mention but they will be names the Southampton fans hope the board stay away from.


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Edited by Rohit Nath
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