Southampton have appointed Claude Puel as their new boss on a three-year deal, as the Saints look to recover from yet another summer of loss of talent.
Puel arrives as a replacement for Dutch boss Ronald Koeman who seems to believe he has a better chance of furthering his career on Merseyside at Everton.
Another summer of loss for Southampton
Southampton seems to undergo an annual drain of talent each summer. Two bosses have left in the last three summers to seek their fortune elsewhere, literally in Koeman’s case.
However, it is the annual sale of the clubs best players that surely must be more galling and concerning for Saints fans. This summer star winger Sadio Mane left for Liverpool, while central midfielder Victor Wanyama moved to Spurs, which raised a combined fee of around £46million.
Southampton always seems to be able to find stellar replacements for their departed players. However, it remains to be seen how much of that ability to replace their departed players was done to Koeman’s contacts.
The Saints way of running the club has brought financial stability to a club that was previously on very shaky ground when it came to finances. The question is how long can they keep selling their best players and replacing them?
For this strategy to be effective the people responsible need to get it right more often than not in the transfer market and that is a dangerous game. The Saints have been moving forward in recent seasons, but how long can they sustain that relative success on the field with this strategy?
Who is Claude Puel?
The Southampton hierarchy have a knack of making good managerial appointments. The last three bosses Nigel Adkins, Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman have all made valuable contributions to where Southampton currently stand.
The latest appointment of 54-year-old Claude Puel will be regarded as a gamble by some. Puel guided Nice to fourth in Ligue One last season. He has previously managed Monaco, Lille and Lyon.
His CV includes a Ligue One title win with Monaco back in 2000 and the French Cup in 2001 with the club from the principality. In 2010 Puel lead Lyon to the Champions League semi-finals, but was criticised for never leading the club to the French top-flight title.
In particularly when his side looked set to seal the Ligue one title, only for a late collapse that lead to his team finishing third in the French top-flight table.
During his career he has developed a reputation as a boss who brings an attractive style of play to the teams he manages, which obviously fits into the philosophy of the team developed by Pochettino and Koeman.
His teams tend to attempt to dominate possession and play attacking football. Puel also had a good reputation at Lille and Nice for developing young players, which again ticks the boxes that Southampton were looking to tick in a new boss.
One negative may be that Puel has never managed in the England, but never had Pochettino or Koeman prior to their arrival at St Marys.
Work for Puel to do this summer
It seems there is interesting times ahead for Southampton. The Saints came close to cracking the top-four last season under Koeman.
The team from the south coast are odds of 12/1 to finish in the Champions League spots this season, but that would be a fantastic achievement considering the amount of teams expected to compete for those spots in Europe’s top competition.
Claude Puel has work to do at St Marys to strengthen his squad following the departure of Mane and Wanyama. The Saints have already completed the shrewd £11million signing of former-England under-21 international Nathan Redmond from Norwich though.
I am sure Southampton fans are excited to see what happens under the new regime. It seems most Saints fans have faith in their board to make a good managerial appointment, because they have not let them down in recent years.
Only time will tell if Puel is another shrewd appointment by the Saints, but Puel has a challenge on his hands to help the club from the south coast to move forward once more next season.
Will Claude Puel be a good appointment for Southampton?