Southampton have always been a club proud of its ability to recruit well when looking at players, but over the years they have also excelled in the managerial department too.
Similar to how many of their top players have gone on to bigger and better things, managers too have been tempted away from the club. However, one man they will be wishing they still had was Mauricio Pochettino.
The Argentine has gone right to the top of the European game since his time at St Mary’s, and with the abundance of exciting young talent that the club has recently acquired, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain boss would surely excel if he was to replace Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Currently a free agent, the 50-year-old’s most recent job was in the French capital, where he was sacked after underperforming in the Champions League. He had struggled to manage his big-name stars, with Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar all keen to be the main man.
It was at Spurs where his managerial mastery truly shone through, however, as he cultivated an exciting team that defied all odds on their way to the Champions League final in 2019.
His win percentage of 54.27% at the Lilywhites was impressive, whilst his willingness to tweak his tactics made him a tough match for anyone in the opposing dugout.
This overperformance was lauded by journalist Daniel Storey, who claimed that: “Given their comparative resources, absolutely sensational management from Mauricio Pochettino.”
Perhaps if Pochettino was currently back at the Saints, he could form a similar partnership between the likes of Che Adams and Joe Aribo.
A striker who is willing to drop deep and link play, and a midfielder willing to make runs in behind the opposition’s defence.
His classic 4-2-3-1 formation would certainly serve the current Southampton side better than Hasenhuttl’s 4-2-2-2, which is insistent on a high press rather than patient build-up play.
With James Ward-Prowse in midfield, a couple of progressive full-backs in Tino Livramento and Kyle Walker-Peters, and a free-flowing strike force, all the ingredients would be in place for Pochettino to potentially replicate his Spurs side.
Although his stint at St Mary’s was only 20 games long, the fact that he was snapped up so quickly by these two massive clubs is indicative of the kind of manager he is. He has evidently been a massive miss for the Saints since his departure and thus, how they must dream of a potential comeback.