Next Southampton boss: Top odds for St Mary’s successor to Ronald Koeman
Holly Thackeray | Updated June 14, 2016
Five shouts for next Saints boss
Now that ambitious Everton have snatched current Southampton coach Ronald Koeman away from St Mary’s with one year still left on his contract, Coral present five seriously tempting shouts to replace the Dutchman in the Saints’ dugout.
Whoever takes over the reins will have a fight on their hands to keep top stars Koeman signed, if reports are to be believed, though the chosen tactician will also inherit a talented south coast squad set to play Europa League football and a burgeoning youth academy.
So, who would suit such a coaching set-up? Coral writers have their say on the next manager to be installed at Southampton…
Bringing Bournemouth up from the depths of League Two to the dizzying heights of the Premier League, albeit in two stints at Saints’ seaside neighbours and with a Championship title for good measure along the way, is nothing to sneeze at.
Yet, stabilising the Cherries and squeezing the most from his small but close-knit squad is what has made Howe’s tenure on the south coast so sensational, and the promising Englishman is an early 2/1 favourite to take over coaching duties from Koeman.
Although, it is hardly a bitter local rivalry between Bournemouth and Southampton, despite attempts to whip it up recently for their first ever top-flight derby, making the short journey from Dean Court to St Mary’s would still be a blow.
Howe has previous, however, of crushing Cherries’ fans hopes for more ambitious moves, leaving previously for the bright lights of Burnley, a venture which lasted just 87 games.
The 38-year-old has now cut his teeth in the top-flight successfully and could be tempted by Saints’ greater potential, while Howe’s passing and possession emphasis, as well as a clear willingness to work with and improve young or local English talent, makes a switch to Southampton seem smooth and logical.
Frank de Boer
Should the St Mary’s hierarchy prefer to keep their Dutch connections, and potentially greater chances of savvy spending in the Eredivisie, then 3/1 chance De Boer would be an ideal option for next boss.
With some Netherlands natives in the St Mary’s squad, such as Virgil van Dijk and Jordie Clasie, as well as players poached from the Dutch top-tier like Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle, De Boer could ensure a simple transition.
Having completed his apprenticeship at Ajax, complete with a none too shabby four league titles, De Boer is ready to step up for a new challenge. The top coaching jobs across the continent seem a little out of reach with a Saints stint the perfect chance to showcase his skills on a bigger stage.
All of top prospects Arkadiusz Milik, Anwar El Ghazi and Riechedly Bazoer would usually be far out of reach for Saints, but with managerial mentor De Boer at the helm it may be a different story.
Former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Villas-Boas has already had two tries at top Premier League jobs, cut rather callously by both capital clubs after less than a year, so punters could be forgiven for thinking the Portuguese would take a twice burned, thrice shy approach to England.
Though AVB is an 8/1 Saints coaching candidate, he clearly still has unfinished business on these shores, having had superb success with Porto and Zenit St Petersburg before and after his Premier League problems, with seven titles captured including a Europa League trophy.
The decorated dugout boss is also a free agent like De Boer, who recently exited Ajax, solving any potentially messy compensation negotiations.
A handful of Iberians such as Jose Fonte, Cedric Soares and Oriol Romeu are already on the roster, and Villas-Boas could excel with such a pliable squad, but with considerably less pressure than in London.
Convincing soon-to-officially-be former Manchester City manager Pellegrini, who has enjoyed prestige positions around Europe with Real Madrid even on his CV, would be a real coup for Saints.
Could the Chilean tactician really set up camp on the south coast? Odds of 8/1, making Pellegrini joint third favourite, say so. Perhaps a quieter stint by the seaside, away from owners with trigger fingers, could suit the South American as he potentially winds down age 62.
Rumours of AC Milan interest may mean this is a no-go, unless Pellegrini’s desire to stay put in the Premier League and show City what they are missing proves stronger than a Rossoneri revival.
Despite being blessed with riches during his time at the Etihad and Bernabeu, Pellegrini also knows how to work with an underdog after impressive tenures at Villarreal and Malaga.
Swiss-Turkish gaffer Yakin is another name on the scene, though is the dark horse from our five picks at 20/1 alongside Roberto Martinez to arrive at St Mary’s.
Searching for employment after his short stint with Spartak Moscow was mutually terminated, the 41-year-old former Switzerland centre back was seen as one of the continent’s most up-and-coming coaches before his move to Russia.
Around two terms with boyhood club Basel saw Yakin lauded for brilliantly beating English giants Chelsea twice in the 2013 Champions League group stage, while he also won 40 of his 71 games in charge. A dose of that dugout determination would go down well with Southampton, a team that regularly punches above its weight and tests the Premier League big boys.