Mark Hughes looks like a man out of options. His management career is now 19 years old and in that time he’s been in charge of Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham, QPR, Stoke and now Southampton, all to varying degrees of success. The abrasive Welshman is yet to win his first honour as a coach and frankly, he looks out of options at the moment.
For a time it looked like Sparky was going to be taking Stoke City to the next level. He was at the club for just under five seasons, finishing 9th three times on the bounce between 2013 and 2016 and had the attacking trio of Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnauatovic and Xherdan Shaqiri carrying him through games at times, although it wouldn’t be long until his bubble burst mid-season when he was sacked on The Potters’ way to relegation last season.
At the end of last season, Hughes took up a rescue job at Southampton and by some miracle, his brand of football managed to keep them in the Premier League, with a massive 1-0 win at Swansea proving decisive. We’re now in the 2018/19 season and Hughes has done little to improve The Saints. The 55-year-old spent plenty of money over the summer and yet no improvements have been made to the squad, so what is next for Mark Hughes?
It may sound ridiculous, but one of Mark Hughes best options from here would be to follow the Steve McLaren model. When the so-called ‘Wally with a Brolly’ was sacked from the England job and supposedly disgraced as a manager, he made it clear his next job would be in the Championship or abroad, and it was in the Netherlands where he next managed as he helped FC Twente to their first ever Eredivisie title.
The pressure on Mark Hughes would be massively dialled down if he was to be out of the eye of the English press and managing at a club outside of the UK would give him a chance to get back on his feet and get some success. Whilst it may not have propelled McLaren to the top jobs in Europe, managing in Holland gave him a chance at redemption and the way Hughes is going, he may well need that chance at redemption if he keeps going down the path he’s on.