Overlooked and undervalued.
Those words underline Southampton Football Club. Always the also-ran’s, the Saints have started to become noticed over the past three seasons.
Mauricio Pochettino brought with him a brand of football from Espanyol that enabled them to finish in the top 10 in the Premier League for the first time since 2002. Just over a year later and the bigger clubs began to circle around this relative unknown until Tottenham enticed the Argentine with a five year deal, which has just been re-hashed.
Enter Ronald Koeman in 2014 and another manager who had to deal with the Saints exit door swinging back and forth, as he tried to put together a team capable of building upon the foundations set by Pochettino.
In Koeman’s two years, Southampton have qualified for the Europa league and maintained their position as a top 10 Premier League side, narrowly missing out on the Champions League last season.
But football is cruel and before signing a new contract with the Saints, Koeman had his head turned by Everton and was soon off to Merseyside with a bigger, better deal with money to spend.
It’s all change again for Saints fans, so who could come in next season and keep Southampton’s momentum going?
Here are three suggestions…
The ex-Manchester City boss is known to fancy another stab at the Premier League and was briefly linked with Everton.
His achievements were quietly admired rather than shouted aloud, but the Chilean knows the Premier League and likes a well run club.
It is rumoured that Pellegrini has already been interviewed, as the Saints board continue to search for a successor, but the former Real Madrid and Villarreal boss, who won the title with City two years ago, is a real fans favourite.
The ex-Chelsea and Tottenham boss is now looking for a club after leaving Zenit St. Petersburg and the South Coast and another spell at a Premier League club could appeal.
It is said that AVB wants a six month break, but we’ve heard such things before, so don’t be surprised to see the Portuguese manager heading to Southampton for an interview.
AVB seems a good fit at St Mary’s with his experience and ambition, as well experience of managing in European competition. His past in England follows him around like a ball and chain, but Southampton are a team looking deeper and not on a superficial level. One not to be ruled out.
Southampton appear very interested in the former Nice manager Puel, who was once Arsene Wenger’s protege at Monaco.
The 54-year-old, who also played under Wenger, led Monaco to the French championship in 2000 and, after a successful six-year stint in charge at Lille, guided Lyon to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time.