Premier League

Mark Hughes’ arrival could transform Southampton’s £13.5m-rated flop at the best possible time

The Southampton fans have been feeling relieved in the Transfer Tavern this week after Mauricio Pellegrino finally suffered the consequence of his side’s terrible run of form and was dismissed by the club with just 8 fixtures left to play. 

Southampton’s season has been an absolute horror show for the Saints faithful propping up our bar so far, but they are hoping Pellegrino’s dismissal will spark their side into a positive run of form during the final stage of the season. Although it has not been confirmed as of yet, it appears that Mark Hughes will imminently take charge of the south-coast outfit.

The fact that Hughes has never been relegated from the Premier League should fill the supporters with optimism and install a new-found sense of hope into a club which was clouded by negativity during the majority of Pellegrino’s tenure. One of the main grievances of the supporters with regards to Pellegrino’s shortcomings was his lack of attacking ambition, even when Southampton were pitted against a side with a poor defensive record.

Fortunately for the supporters, that should be set to change under Hughes, as his managerial history suggests he will not need a second invitation to be positive with his team selection. Whilst Hughes was at Stoke City, he did an excellent job in allowing the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Marko Arnautovic and even Jonathan Walters to express their creative qualities on a regular basis.

Hughes was even sacked by Manchester City at the end of 2009 for placing too much emphasis on scoring goals, so Southampton should know what to expect from their incoming manager. With that to consider, The Saints attacking players who were stifled by Pellegrino’s regressive tactics – such as Sofiane Boufal, Dusan Tadic and Nathan Redmond – should now be given a fresh license to roam the attacking third and inject some flair back into the clubs displays.

Boufal (valued at £13.5 million by Transfermarkt) in particular has been one of the most disappointing players in Southampton’s squad this season, as his magnificent solo strike against West Brom back in October suggested that he would offer a source of attacking inspiration for the club this season. Since then, Boufal has added just 1 extra goal to his tally and provided 2 assists, but that record has a great chance of improving under Hughes.

With Hughes in the managers hot-seat, the true ability of Boufal and Southampton’s other attacking players should finally be unearthed, and if he can achieve that during the final 8 fixtures of the season then they should have no problem avoiding relegation.

Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
To Top