Former Chief Executive Nicola Cortese rebuilt Southampton from the depths of despair. He brought the club back to the top flight from League One in a relatively short period of time while building a sustainable business model.
His links with clubs throughout the continent helped bring in under-the-radar talent to the south coast while working hard to develop English talent at the club. At the beginning of last season, Nigel Adkins was retained as manager to get the club successive promotions and when the team hit a rough patch last season after returning to the Premier League, Cortese courageously sacked Adkins.
The decision was unpopular but Mauricio Pochettino proved an inspired choice and one directly tied to Cortese who has since left the club. But Pochettino has stayed, and the Saints have become the story in English football, developing a young core of domestic players unlike any other top-flight side.
The Argentine who still struggles with English has become the greatest manager at developing young domestic talent in the country. The big question now is will Southampton be able to keep the likes of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, James Ward-Prowse and others around if they will also lose their manager?
With a likely vacancy at Spurs coming this summer and potential openings at Arsenal or other top clubs, the Argentinian can point very clearly to his successes he’s had in developing players. He also took a side on the brink of relegation last season, steered them to safety and then brought them into the top half the next season with minimal fuss or overhaul of the squad.
At only forty-two and with improving English language skills, the Southampton manager could be a long-term solution for any number of clubs who are seeking stability and a coach that works well with younger players.