Ronald Koeman appointed Southampton manager
Southampton, an industry best price 9/1 with Coral to be relegated from the Premier League next season, have announced the appointment of former Feyenoord, PSV Einhoven and Ajax player and boss Ronald Koeman as their new manager on a three-year deal.
The 51-year-old’s contract in Rotterdam was up at the end of the club season, leaving him free to negotiate with suitors. Koeman, a two-time European Cup winner from his on-field career, played for Barcelona, but also coached Valencia and Benfica.
“Southampton have a talented first-team squad, a world-class academy and the infrastructure to sustain success in the Premier League,” said Koeman.
“From my very first meeting with [Saints executive director] Les Reed, I could see clearly that this was the right club for me. We share the same philosophy of football and the same belief in how to develop the club.
“The opportunity to continue the development of this famous football club was simply too good to turn down. I cannot wait to get started.”
Mauricio Pochettino left the Saints for Tottenham in May, but now they have a successor. Koeman brings his brother Erwin with him to St Mary’s as assistant and had also attracted rumoured interest from Turkish giants Galatasaray following the departure of Roberto Mancini.
Steering Feyenoord to runners-up spot in the Eredivisie this term, the Dutchman was also part of the victorious European Championship winning side of 1988. Koeman struck out on his own in management with Vitesse Arnhem in 2000 after spells as Netherlands and Barcelona assistant.
An immediate priority for Koeman at Southampton is to resolve the futures of several standout performers. Croatia defender Dejan Lovren is thought to have handed in a transfer request before heading to the World Cup, while Saints skipper Adam Lallana and left back Luke Shaw are the subject of bids from Liverpool and Manchester United respectively.
Replacing centre forward Rickie Lambert, sold to Liverpool for a reported £4m plus add-ons, is also something that will be pressing for Koeman. The Saints hierarchy may have been impressed by how many academy graduates he brought through at Feyenoord, with a similar philosophy in place on the south coast.
Towards the end of the club season, stories emerged that Southampton still owed transfer fees from their return to the Premier League, and also have a hefty bill for their new training ground to foot. Koeman may have sales of the above stars swiftly follow his arrival in order to balance the books.
Despite these reported issues, the Saints remain the best of the rest outside last season’s first seven top-flight teams when it comes to top four betting. It’s 33/1 with Coral that they finish in a Champions League place in 2014/15.