Southampton announced in a statement on Thursday that the club had parted company with vice-chairman Les Reed, and chairman Ralph Krueger has confirmed that they are now looking to appoint a new head of football operations to replace him.
Well, Reed;s eight-year tenure with the south coast outfit has come to an following a turbulent couple of years of disappointing big-money signings and managerial appointments that ultimately haven’t worked out.
There is no doubt that the 65-year-old played his part in their success just a few years ago as they secured four successive top-eight Premier League finishes and Europa League qualification on two occasions, but narrowly avoiding relegation last season left him on the brink.
A poor start to the 2018/19 campaign under Mark Hughes in which all four summer signings aren’t regulars in the starting XI meant the writing was on the wall for Reed, and his departure was confirmed on Thursday.
The club will want to complete a thorough process to ensure they get the right individual, but they should be taking a serious look at one person who already knows the club well in Paul Mitchell.
The former MK Dons midfielder joined Saints in 2012 as their new head of recruitment, and was responsible for bringing the likes of Steven Davis, Jay Rodriguez, Victor Wanyama, Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic, Sadio Mane and Toby Alderweireld to the club.
The now 37-year-old made such a big impression on Mauricio Pochettino during his time at the helm at St Mary’s that he joined him at Tottenham in November 2014, and he was then responsible for bringing Dele Alli and Alderweireld to Spurs.
Mitchell is currently the head of recruitment and development at RB Leipzig, but Southampton must look to tempt him with a return to English football to help turn their fortunes around.