Southampton hoping to turn Magath from ‘dictator’ into Saint
Relegation survival expert (except this season with Fulham) Felix Magath has reportedly become a target for Southampton this summer, despite Fulham refusing the Saints permission to speak to him. He second-favourite at 4/1 to take over the job.
According to sources, the south coast side will only be able to get their man if the experienced German boss quits the Cottagers, after just under four months with the west Londoners.
This comes as Southampton are desperately trying to find a replacement for Mauricio Pochettino, who left for Tottenham. Former Feyenoord manager and Dutch great Ronald Koeman currently leads the way with Coral to be next Saints boss; odds-on at 4/6, with Steve McClaren and Sean Dyche joint-third favourites at 8/1.
Devout chess enthusiast Magath, though, arguably has the better managerial credentials, in terms of this situation, of any other name linked with the job. The 60-year-old knows exactly how to turn around the fortunes of a club against the odds, and trying to save Southampton, who look set to have a mass exodus of players, is yet just another challenge for the schemer.
The former Bayern Munich manager is renowned for buying and selling and, with a lot of money at his disposal (if he were to take over), he has a proven track record of bringing in the right people. Rickie Lambert has already left for Liverpool, while the Saints look set to heavily cash in on the likes of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Morgan Schneiderlin and others.
Magath, nicknamed ‘the dictator’ due to his insistence on being in charge of all club operations as well as his approach with players, was clearly distraught after being unable to save Fulham from the drop. It was the only time he has been relegated in 10 spells in charge of teams.
But meticulous Magath is not one to give up; he will learn from it and this could only spur him on to greater things either with Fulham, Southampton or a different side.
“This [relegation] is worse than losing in two World Cup finals – being the second best team in the world is not as bad as being at the bottom of the Premier League,” he said.
The man is a born-winner, having gained three Bundesliga titles and the European Cup with Hamburg as a player, where he also lined up alongside a certain Kevin Keegan. Magath, as he said in the above quote, has two World Cup runners-up medals to his name, and also was in the successful Germany team at the 1980 European Championship final.
As a manager, he has been in charge of a total of eight Bundesliga sides, winning trophies and saving clubs from relegation, as well as getting them promoted. Magath, who has also been linked with a return to the club where he is much-lauded, Hamburg, triumphed twice with Bayern in the Bundesliga and later with unfashionable side Wolfsburg in the same competition.
Southampton have odds of 9/1 to go down next term, and 33/1 to somehow break into the top four. But, as we know, with Magath’s magic, anything is possible!