Southampton are looking for a new manager after Maurico Pochettino’s appointment as Tottenham Head Coach. At the moment, Murat Yakin appears the front runner for the job, however Gus Poyet, Malky MacKay, Steve McClaren, Eddie Howe, Neil Lennon and Dan Petrescu have also been linked with the vacancy.
Yakin is now unemployed after leaving Swiss champions Basel at the end of the season. He is the favourite at the moment, with Paddy Power pricing him at 9-2. As he is unemployed, Saints wouldn’t have to pay any compensation to bring him in. Saints have put out a statement saying they are looking for a ‘high calibre manager’, and Yakin would appear to fit the bill, winning the Swiss League and experiencing Champions League football with Basel. He is Swiss, which may land him in a more favourable position with the Saints board, with owner Katharina Liebherr also coming from Switzerland.
Paddy Power have installed Gus Poyet as their 11-2 second favourite. This would not be a popular appointment at St Mary’s due to the bad blood between the club and Poyet during his time at Brighton. He said “They play the same kind of football as Dagenham and Redbridge. The only difference is they’ve got [Rickie] Lambert. If you gave Dagenham and Redbridge [Lee] Barnard and Lambert they would be in the top six.” He did guide Sunderland to safety when they looked certain to be relegated, and he has hinted at a clause which allows him to walk away from Sunderland for no compensation, which would be appealing to the Saints board. However, without wanting to sound snobby, Southampton should be looking at a manager of higher calibre than Poyet if they are looking to push on into the top 6.
Malky MacKay is the bookies’ third favourite, priced at 15-2. He is a sought after manager after his seemingly unjust sacking from Cardiff, linked with the Celtic, Spurs and Norwich jobs. It is unlikely though that Saints will make a move for MacKay as, again, Saints will probably see themselves above Mackay. Steve McClaren has also been linked with the job, priced at 8-1. McClaren lifted Derby from the lower echelons of the Championship to the Playoff Final with a youthful Derby, which would put him in good stead at Southampton as he would take over a young side and would probably have to blood young players into the first team as many key players are being linked with a move away from St Mary’s. However, McClaren has only been in charge at Derby for nine months, so it may be unlikely that he would want to move again.
An outsider for the job could be Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, with Paddy Power pricing him at 9-1. He is a young manager who has done exceptionally well with Bournemouth. This would be a risky appointment, as he has never managed above the Championship, and he didn’t fair to well in his only time away from Bournemouth at Burnley. He is inexperienced and is unlikely to be the sort of name to attract the top players. But with the board’s level of spending this summer uncertain, he may be a wise choice to rebuild a young team and guide them forward.
Ex-Celtic manager Neil Lennon could be a possible appointment, as he has continental experience with Celtic in the Champions League. The bookies have priced him at 12-1, suggesting that he is unlikely to take the role. Although he has been successful, the SPL is not the most competitive league, so his ability may still be under question.
Out of the remaining candidates listed that may be an outside bet (20-1) would be former Southampton (although briefly) player. He left Dynamo Moscow in April so would be available for free. He speaks English from his spells as a player at Sheffield Wednesday, Chelsea and Bradford, and has managerial experience in many European leagues.
Odds provided by Paddy Power and are accurate as of 20:00 on Tuesday 27th May 2014