A lot of media pressure is building up after Southampton FC have ( or due to have) their end of season ‘Review’ meeting. It is clear that fans want change and that may not be due to their final position or achievements of the season, but for the ‘boring’ style of play they have been experiencing in recent months.
It is clear Claude Puel has had a tough first season in charge, with his enforced rotation policies, defensive style of play, and intense fixture schedule particularly in January.
Europa wasn’t the best thing for him to inherit. The depth of squad just wasn’t there to cope with this along with a premier league campaign, EFL Cup and FA Cup.
It was one Saints fans the world over will remember – that night at the San Siro, and you have to ask yourself, to experience those kind of nights and the return leg at St Mary’s, is it worth finishing mid-table sometimes? Add to that an EFL cup final! This is the fourth season in a row Saints have finished 8th or higher!
It ended up as one competition (Europa) to much – which showed on a late January evening, a young squad and a drubbing by Arsenal in the FA Cup 5th round.
This has created a style of play he has had to enforce to protect his players, which has not enamoured himself with the fans after two seasons of attacking football, which rewarded them with a trip to Milan!
So where next? Puel has been rumoured to be talking to St Etienne who are interested in his services. If that is true then we are most definitely looking for a new manager again and as the recent favourite Silva just got the Watford job, who does that leave us with.
Two new favourites in Gary Monk and Ranieri have now come to the fore.
Gary Monk is an interesting prospect and he did well at Swansea and has steered Leeds up the Championship. But, he also has another card, which is James Beattie as first coach, and a return to St Marys would be one which would harness the fans backing. He would also be extremely useful in securing the services of Gylfi Sigurdsson who is on Saints radar.
Ranieri on the other hand is an EPL title winner and his style of play last year was nothing short of breathtaking. Although some would say he was successful as other top clubs fumbled, but his football was exciting. Everyone agrees his firing was harsh and the players had a lot to do with that. So his man management skills may be the stumbling block.
The next two in line are Unai Emery, and our old manager Alan Pardew. Been there, done that, t-shirt for Pardew, but Emery is a different prospect. A lot of fans wanted him last time around but as a successful manager at PSG the only reason he would want to leave there is if he wanted to manage in the EPL.
Lets not forget others that are circling Sam Allardyce, Roy Hodgson, Eddie Howe, Mancini who will also be in the frame. But the board are no stranger to pulling out someone we had not expected as they did with Claude Puel. It is clear whoever we have next, has to secure a squad to stay together.
Fans will not tolerate a third year max exodus alongside a third year of managerial changes again.