Ralph Hasenhüttl’s spell in charge of Southampton is over, and Nathan Jones is the club’s key target.
The Saints took the decision to dismiss the Austrian after a string of poor results.
Hasenhüttl had been in charge at St. Mary’s since December of 2018, following an excellent spell in charge at RB Leipzig. However, his time with Southampton has lost its spark.
Surviving two 9-0 defeats will remain a feat unlikely to be matched in the Premier League. Yet, Hasenhüttl has finally run out of rope after one win in nine games.
Nathan Jones is primary target for Southampton job
Whilst a number of supporters speculated or hoped for a possible Mauricio Pochettino return, Nathan Jones is a far more realistic target for Southampton.
In fact, the Premier League side already received permission from Luton Town to discuss a potential move to St. Mary’s Stadium.
Luton Town face Stoke City on Tuesday evening in the Championship. Jones will be in charge of the encounter. Then, he plans to speak to Southampton after the game concludes.
“We would like to place on record that the Premier League club have approached the board in the correct manner, for which we are grateful, and that the whole situation is extremely amicable with Southampton and with Nathan,” a Luton club statement read on Monday.
Jones has done remarkable work with Luton over two spells. He took charge of the team back when they were in League 2 and earned promotion. He then led Luton to second in League 1 before leaving for Stoke City.
It was a doomed appointment at Stoke. He never fully settled into life with a team recently suffering relegation from the Premier League.
In his first full season back at Luton, Jones finished sixth. He earned Manager of the Season honors for the Championship.
Southampton identified the Welsh coach as the individual to take the team clear of relegation. It is a deal that is expected to be concluded fairly quickly.
Backing Nathan Jones
Once Jones arrives, the World Cup in Qatar will be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. His first month of work will likely be getting used to a new environment and squad.
Southampton arrived back in the Premier League as the masters of finding talent and value in the market. Nicola Cortese’s work with Les Reed helped the club build a team capable of outperforming their budget.
With other Premier League clubs following suit and working in a similar way, the talent pool has dried up for Southampton. Ownership changes have limited investment and the club has been spiraling towards a real relegation fight for a while.
Jones’ best work at Luton came when he was able to rebuild a squad completely. He won’t receive the time or the backing to do this immediately at St. Mary’s. 2022/23 will have to be about survival more than anything.
Southampton have scored the fourth lowest number of goals this term and need to find a striker in January. That could give Jones enough help to organize the team and try and avoid the drop.
In the long-term, Saints fans can’t expect a similar style of football to Pochettino or Ronald Koeman. Jones prefers a system that is based far more on intense pressing from the front, and direct transitions.
It isn’t quite long-ball, but a quick turnaround from defense to attack. Think of how Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool played before he got quality passers like Fabinho and Thiago. Southampton will be far more direct and efficient with Jones.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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