After a whopping eight matches in charge, Nathan Jones has been relieved of his duties by Southampton, giving one brave, brave man the chance to have a go at trying to keep them in the Premier League.
The fact that Jones was only at the helm for three months and yet his sacking felt like a long time coming speaks volumes about how badly things went – 11 managers have picked up a point at St Mary’s this season and he isn’t one of them.
His efforts have left the club rock bottom of the table, so they need to get their next appointment right if they want to avoid a return to the Championship.
Here’s who they could turn to.
Clubs managed: SpVgg Unterhaching, VfR Aalen, Ingolstadt, RB Leipzig, Southampton
Going back to an ex isn’t always a good idea, but maybe it is for Southampton?
Sure, there were some low points under Ralph Hasenhuttl – losing more than one match 9-0 isn’t ideal – but there were highs too. The Austrian implemented a very defined high-energy style of play, and they were capable of being utterly brilliant if everything synced up nicely.
Whether Hasenhuttl would go back just months after being dismissed is another thing, but maybe it’s worth a shot as he did bag 12 of the 15 points they’ve accrued so far this season.
Clubs managed: Rangers, Aston Villa
The bookmakers favourite, at the time of writing, is former Aston Villa and Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.
Dismissed from his post earlier this season, Gerrard preserved Villa’s Premier League status last year before embarking on a run of two wins from the club’s opening 12 games this time around. Swings and roundabouts.
He did do an excellent job at Rangers before that, though handing him the reins would appear on the surface to be a rather large risk.
Clubs managed: RB Salzburg II, SC Rheindorf Altach, SV Grodig, Red Bull Salzburg, Young Boys, Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Monchengladbach
If Southampton are interested in reviving Hasenhuttl’s philosophy, to an extent, they could do far worse than former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter.
The Austrian laid the foundations for Frankfurt’s future success before succeeding Marco Rose at Monchengladbach last season. That particular venture didn’t work out, but he has success spells with Salzburg and Young Boys to also fall back on.
Not a favourite but not a bad shout by any means.
Clubs managed: Nacional, River Plate
Another favourite with the bookies is Marcelo Gallardo, who seems to be linked with every job going these days.
He did an excellent job at River Plate, winning 14 trophies in eight years, before departing across the Atlantic in 2022 to European football.
Gallardo has been very open about his ambitions, but did recently turn down an approach from Dutch giants Ajax. Rocking up at Southampton would definitely be a surprise after that.
Clubs managed: Montreal Impact, New York Red Bulls, RB Salzburg, RB Leipzig, Leeds
Hiring the manager Leeds just dismissed for also dragging his side into a huge relegation mix? Surely not?
Well, Jesse Marsch did turn things around at Leeds initially, after being appointed as Marcelo Bielsa’s Elland Road successor. But things turned sour for the former RB Salzburg boss pretty rapidly, and links to the USMNT job probably carry more weight at this moment in time.
Clubs managed: Fyllingen/Fyllingsdalen, Asane, Bodo/Glimt
Before hiring Jones, Southampton loved to make left-field appointments, and given how things went when they were less imaginative, they may decide to do so again.
If so, Kjetil Knutsen will surely be on their shortlist; he’s worked wonders at Bodo/Glimt, transforming them from relegation contenders into title winners, and there’s a romping 6-1 win over Jose Mourinho’s Roma on his Europa League résumé.
St Mary’s and the Premier League should still have some pulling power, but accepting life in the Championship would have be a real consideration for Knutsen.
Clubs managed: Limerick, Preston, Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Everton, West Brom
Going from a left-field appointment to the least creative one possible, maybe it’s time for The Return of the (relegation battle) King.
Sure, Big Sam did go down with West Bromwich Albion in his last job, but that was the first time in his long and distuingished career that he’d suffered such a fate. Pretty impressive considering the number of relegation battles Allardyce has been in.
Whether a tune could be gotten out of this Southampton squad is an entirely different matter.
Clubs managed: Alfreton Town, Halifax, Oxford, Northampton, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough
Rather than dabble in the dark arts – no offence, Sam – to try and stay up, Southampton could accept there’s a pretty good chance they’ll go down and look for someone best suited to taking them back up.
That could lead them to Chris Wilder, who took Sheffield United all the way from League One to the Premier League before earning them a top-half finish in the top flight.
A recent stint at Middlesbrough wasn’t as successful, but Wilder has shown before that he’s got what it takes.
Clubs managed: Derby, D.C. United
If Southampton want to go down the same route as Jones – a manager who performed well in the Championship considering their lack of resources – then why not go for a big-name upgrade in Wayne Rooney?
The major downside is that across spells with the Rams and MLS side D.C. United, Rooney has a career win percentage of just 26.3. Not great, Bob.
Clubs managed: Derby, Chelsea, Everton
Frank Lampard’s record at Everton wasn’t great at all, yet he’s somehow made his way onto the bookmakers list of contenders.
Yes, Everton have been run into the ground by the ownership, but was anybody paying attention to the extreme tactical deficiencies on the field? Southampton’s supporters will hope that Rasmus Ankersen and co sat up and took note, otherwise Nathan Jones will be laughing all the way back to Wales.
He did beat Lamps to earn his only Southampton win, after all.
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