Saturday, June 23, 2018

Southampton set for another summer of upheaval

French boss Claude Puel looks set to be sacked by Southampton

You have to feel for Southampton fans. Every summer their best talent is harvested and the new boss has to rebuild.

Not only do the Saints have to face the prospect of losing their star players, but it seems the club are also about to sack boss Claude Puel, according to the Daily Express.

The Saints finished eighth in the Premier League which for a club of their standing is not a terrible result.

However, they finished 15points behind seventh-place Everton, who are ironically managed by former Saints boss Ronald Koeman.

The playing style of Puel was not to everybody’s taste at St Marys. I even read one supporter describe the style as ‘turgid’ on a Saints forum. From the times I have seen the Saints play this season, it may not be too far from the truth.

Yet another new boss                 

Southampton had to appoint a new boss last summer when Ronald Koeman decided to move to Everton. The decision proved to be a good one for Koeman who guided the Toffees to a place in the Europa League, while the Saints endured an inconsistent campaign under Puel.

The Saints hierarchy have had a good track record of appointing bosses in recent years. The appointments of Nigel Adkins, Mauricio Pochettino and of course Koeman were all shrewd ones.

On paper, Puel’s reign was not terrible. The team from the south coast reached the League Cup final and finished eighth, not disastrous. However, the Saints league position was more due to the inconsistencies of the other teams in the middle of the table, than anything brilliant they had done.

The team have not really progressed under Puel and or even played an attractive style of football to give the fans hope that it could get better in the future. In real terms, the team were going nowhere under the Frenchman.

Players being linked with moves

It seems like it could be a case of Southampton losing some their best players once again this summer. Dutch centre-back Virgil van Dijk is wanted by most of the league’s top seven. The Saints have already made a complaint to the Premier League about Liverpool allegedly tapping up the centre-back.

England full-back Ryan Bertrand is also attracting the interest of Manchester City, who seem determined to sign a decent left-back this summer. The 27-year-old has established himself as a very dependable full-back and it would be no surprise to see the former Chelsea star move on.

Southampton are in the unfortunate position of being stuck in limbo. They are not quite good enough to compete with the top seven teams in the league, yet they arguably have bigger potential than most of the other teams in the English top-flight.

The Saints cannot really progress because every time one of their players performs well they move to a bigger club, similar to their bosses really.

Van Dijk and Bertrand are key players for Southampton. The Saints have replaced departed players in the past. However, they cannot keep repeating the trick without diluting the quality of their squad.

Who will be the next Saints boss?

At the moment the favourite to be the next Southampton boss is Garry Monk at odds of 4/1, while former Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel is the second favourite at odds of 11/2 to be in the Saints dugout for next season.

If I was a Saints fan I would be praying that Tuchel is appointed as the club’s next boss. At Dortmund, he produced an exciting brand of football and he also used a lot of the clubs young players.

He seems to be the perfect fit for the Southampton job. I doubt many would call his football turgid if he did arrive on the south coast. The link with Garry Monk is probably because he is an ex-Southampton player.

The only problem I see with appointing Tuchel is that if he does well he is likely to move on to a bigger club with more ambition. However, that is going to be a problem with most bosses the Saints decide to appoint.

The Saints have recovered from losing bosses and players before. Surely everybody at the club now wants a bit of stability for a couple of seasons in the manager’s chair. Hopefully, they can appoint that boss that can provide that this summer.

Who will be Southampton’s next boss?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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