Claude Puel is the new manager of Southampton after agreeing a three-year contract with the Premier League club.
Puel is appointed as the successor to Ronald Koeman, who left to replace Roberto Martinez at Everton this month following two years with the Saints.
Eric Black, who ended last season as interim manager of relegated Aston Villa, will serve as assistant manager as the St Mary’s Stadium club look to build on an impressive sixth-place finish that secured Europa League football for the upcoming campaign.
The club’s statement read: “Southampton football club is delighted to announce the appointment of Claude Puel as its new first team manager.
“The appointment of Puel follows an extensive search for the right manager to continue the club’s progression in recent years.”
The 54-year-old left his previous role with Nice by mutual consent after guiding the team to a Europa League berth by impressively finishing fourth in Ligue 1, concluding a four-year spell at the club.
Puel won the French title while in charge of Monaco between 1999 and 2001, but was unable to replicate that feat during stints with Lille and Lyon.
He did, however, lead Lyon to the Champions League semi-finals in 2010.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) June 30, 2016
Southampton’s executive director of football Les Reed said: “The process to appoint a new first team manager has been diligent and meticulous.
“In order to ensure we appointed a manager who would meet our needs as a club, feedback from the dressing room, as well as taking account of our culture, vision and values, was critical in drawing up our criteria for the appointment.
“As the process eliminated a number of excellent candidates, Claude clearly came out on top of a very impressive shortlist. We have not only got the best man, but the right coaching team to support him.
“We have an excellent group of first-team players who are keen to take another step forward. There is already a confidence and excitement in the building as some of the squad has returned for testing and they are in great shape.
“Claude has a fantastic platform to work from and is aware that our ambition is to repeat and improve on our performances in the Premier League over the past three seasons.
“Claude has a track record of improving the situations he has been presented with and we are confident he can repeat this at Southampton.
“His Champions League and European experience will be valuable in our Europa League challenge this coming season and with the support of our excellent staff at the club I am sure he will do well.”
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