Next Southampton Manager: Cruyff disciple leads way

Ronald Koeman has performed a commendable job at Feyenoord

There are some exciting names in the frame to replace Mauricio Pochettino as Southampton boss...

"Saints fans shouldn’t be despondent about the future as they will perhaps never again have the chance to hire from a position of such strength."

Though 2013/14 rivalled the FA Cup final-accompanied 2002/03 campaign as Southampton's finest of the century, many believe that the summer following it is going to be so destructive that it will blow away every element of positivity.

The manager responsible for overseeing such a grand season, Mauricio Pochettino, has already left for Tottenham, Luke Shaw has been gone since mid-April according to not just tabloids but several broadsheets and there is panic that long-server Adam Lallana will also flee to Liverpool or Spurs.

However, Saints fans shouldn't be despondent about the future as they will perhaps never again have the chance to hire from a position of such strength. The last two years have been a showcase of all their enticing qualities: affluent, emerging, attractive, ambitious and with a great youth academy on top.

While the thought of losing two of their finest home-grown stars will disappoint supporters, it could be a blessing for the new boss. He will inherit a growing club with gifted youngsters and a rock-solid spine, yet have the funds to mould the squad into his own image rather than feel forced to worship the Pochettino blueprint.

Who will it be? The early 4.47/2 frontrunner is Ronald Koeman, who has won Eredivisie titles with Ajax and PSV and restored Feyenoord as a top-three side in his latest role. He was a two-time Champions League winner as a player, scoring the clincher in 1991/92 for Johan Cruyff's Barcelona Dream Team.

The Dutchman's appointment would be a slight risk though despite his experience and trophy-lifting pedigree because his past coaching ventures overseas with Benfica and Valencia weren't hugely successful, even if the latter did yield a Copa del Rey.

Second favourite Murat Yakin lacks Koeman's gravitas or dugout longevity, but offers similar intrigue after establishing Basel as a European force, reaching the Europa League semi-finals in 2012/13 and quarter-finals in 2013/14, with Sporting Lisbon, Zenit, Tottenham and Chelsea among their victims. The 39-year-old is a 6.25/1 shot.

Michael Laudrup has the Premier League knowhow that the top two lack and did a similar job to the one Pochettino performed at St Mary's on Swansea, taking top-flight rookies into the top half in a short-pass-heavy way and claiming a League Cup along the way, so is priced at 7.413/2.

Steve McClaren is available at 10.09/1 after his and Derby's mutual resuscitation effort, Gus Poyet is the same price to be tempted away from Sunderland and this writer will never shy away from hyping Eddie Howe as a worthy outsider at 12.011/1. The south coast-based coach, briefly of Portsmouth, has lifted Bournemouth from 21st in League Two to tenth in Championship.

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses
Bet now

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles