Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern have been rejoicing in the last few hours following the news that manager Mauricio Pellegrino has been sacked as the club’s manager, with the Saints 17th in the Premier League table.
The 46-year-old replaced the sacked Claude Puel during the summer in the hope to bring a more entertaining and attacking playing style to St Mary’s, but the former centre-back managed just five Premier League victories in charge of the South Coast outfit. And the final straw was Saturday’s woeful 3-0 defeat at the hands of fellow relegation rivals Newcastle United at St James’ Park, with a Kenedy double alongside a Matt Ritchie strike bringing to an end Pellegrino’s short stint in charge of the Saints.
As such, many of our resident Southampton fans have been in high spirits in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom have been calling for their club to make a change given their horrendous Premier League form, which has seen them win just one of their last 17 matches.
And attentions are already turning to who could be the man to replace the Spaniard in the St Mary’s hotseat, with former Stoke City and Manchester City boss Mark Hughes reportedly in the running for the vacant post.
Yet the Saints should forget about appointing the 54-year-old, and instead focus all their efforts on making an audacious move to lure Ronald Koeman back to the club, less than two years after he departed for Everton.
Ultimately, the Dutchman did a marvellous job at St Mary’s in leading the club to seventh place in his first season in charge back in 2014/15, before going one better the campaign after to eventually end up sixth, and thus earning a spot in the group stages of the Europa League.
More importantly though, the former Barcelona defender continued with the attacking brand of football developed at the club by his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino – the Saints bagged 54 goals in his first season in charge, which was more than Liverpool, and then managed 59 the campaign after, which was ten more than Manchester United.
And it was in those campaigns which the likes of Graziano Pelle, Sadio Mane, Dusan Tadic, and Shane Long flourished, and the team duly delivered exciting football which made St Mary’s an extremely difficult place to go and get a result.
And that style is what Southampton appear to be searching for – Puel was sacked despite leading the club to eighth place in the division and the EFL Cup final because his football was deemed negative, and Pellegrino did little to improve that in his short time in charge.
Yet Koeman has already proven to be the sort of manager they want in his short spell in charge between 2014 and 2016, and while some Saints fans weren’t overly happy with the manner of his departure, many have come round to the idea of why he did indeed take over at a seemingly more forward-thinking and ambitious Everton.
And with the Saints in need of someone to really lift them with eight games of the campaign left, Koeman could well be that man.
Yes, the 54-year-old has only recently taken over as the Netherlands boss, and luring him away from that is going to be extremely tricky, but given his efforts in the job in the past, alongside their hope to return to those ways, the Saints hierarchy must show the sort of ambition that was lacking when he took over at Everton to bring him back.
Showing that ambition could well convince Koeman to return to St Mary’s, and thus build upon what he started in his previous stint in charge.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!