Southampton manager Ronald Koeman looks set for a switch to Goodison Park to manager Everton next season, and supporters are worried about the ramifications of his departure.
The Saints have continued to rise from the flames after losing their managers or starring players of the past, but how long can that really last in the Premier League?
Players at risk of leaving
Southampton enjoyed a fantastic season in the Premier League, finishing in a record sixth-place with 63 points, just four off a Champions League spot. The Saints pulled off some impressive scalps in 2015/16, taking points off Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, West Ham United, Everton, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur among others.
Performances of players in such games has elevated their status, and the South Coast club might struggle keep their stars as a result. The likes of Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic have all been linked with moves away from St Mary’s this summer, and if their manager is so freely leaving Southampton, how can the club realistically keep the players?
The scouting team have been fantastic for Southampton to continually find cheaper talent to replace the star performers on a regular basis, but eventually their finds won’t always have the desired impact. This is where Southampton’s buy low, sell high policy could start to crumble when they are no longer improving but going backwards.
Difficultly finding the right manager
Southampton has continued to improve in recent years despite losing popular managers such as Nigel Adkins and Mauricio Pochettino, but finding another coach who can overachieve with the squad is a tough task. Standing still in the Premier League will see clubs going backwards, and one bad season with the wrong manager could be catastrophic.
The Saints hierarchy will be desperate to keep Ronald Koeman at the helm, but the lure of a lucrative transfer kitty might prove too tempting to turn down this summer. Southampton haven’t been afraid to spend money, but they won’t abandon their philosophy on finding gems for cheap in the European top divisions. As a result, their next manager – should Koeman leave – needs to be somebody happy working with a scouting team who flesh out promising talent for a fraction of the price expected.
If Koeman does indeed leave St Mary’s, a number of quality players might follow, and that could leave Southampton in poor shape to stay in the top-half of the Premier League. They have bounced back well each season so far, but how long can it last?