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Southampton seeking new boss

Frank Monkhouse | 22 June 2017

Who will Saints appoint as Puel’s replacement?

Southampton sacked misfiring manager Claude Puel last week after The Saints finished eighth in the Premier League, dropping two places from the season before.

Fans were unconvinced by the 55-year-old Frenchman, and bosses at the Stadium of Light didn’t fancy giving him another crack at it. Puel did lead his side to a Wembley appearance in the final of the League Cup, losing by the odd goal in five vs Manchester United earlier this year. We look at the front-runners for the hot-seat.

Pellegrino ready for step up

Mauricio Pellegrino is believed to be on the verge of sealing a deal to lead Southampton into battle next season. Premier League followers may remember the 45-year-old Argentinian from his time at Anfield, where he served as assistant manager to Rafa Benitez, before filling the same position at Inter Milan. More recently, Pellegrino led La Liga side Alaves to a memorable season, finishing midtable in the Spanish top-flight. Newspaper reports suggest Pellegrino could be onboard by the end of the week, but the club are giving nothing away.

Vieira’s name in the frame

Former Arsenal star Patrick Vieira is no stranger to being liked with a return to English football, and the 40-year-old gaffer finds himself near the top of the list to take charge at Southampton. Currently in charge of New York City in the MLS, many believe the former Man City reserve team boss is well-placed to take the step up in grade and manage at a higher level. There would certainly be no settling in period needed for Vieira, who knows the demands of English football all too well, and has caught the attention during his time in America. He led NYC to their first ever play-off appearance last term, losing in the semi-finals to Toronto.

Jaap Stam deserves promotion

Reading manager Jaap Stam is another who impressed last season, leading Reading to a play-off finish in the Championship. The Royals finished the regular season in third, winning 26 of 46 games, before losing to Huddersfield in the final. Having eliminated Fulham 2-1 on aggregate, Stam took his side agonisingly close to Premier League football, dropping 4-3 on penalties at Wembley. The margin for error at that level is almost non-existent, but Stam’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and at 44 years old, he’d be viewed as a long-term replacement by the Southampton board. A bit of a gamble, perhaps, but the former Man Utd defender has proven he’s up to the task.

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