Southampton: Swansea manager Russell Martin one of leading contenders to take over as boss
Russell Martin is one of the leading candidates to become the next Southampton head coach.
The club are in the process of interviewing candidates and nothing has been decided yet by way of a chosen successor to Ruben Selles.
But the current Swansea boss is understood to have a strong chance of landing the role this summer, as the Saints look to get promoted straight back to the Premier League next year.
Southampton want a head coach who prefers to dominate possession on the field and develop players, and the club are looking to secure alignment between the ownership, incoming director of football Jason Wilcox and the new first-team head coach.
The club have earmarked the start of pre-season in early July as the next boss’ starting date, giving them time to secure the right man.
Other names linked with the job, including Luton’s promotion-chasing boss Rob Edwards, Sunderland’s Tony Mowbray and Steven Schumacher, who has taken Plymouth into the Championship, are not thought to be in the running.
Martin’s Swansea side finished in 10th place this season and ended the Championship season strongly, unbeaten in nine games with wins over West Brom and Norwich City during that run.
Plans for next season there are already being discussed with owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan but, with his name on the list at Southampton and other clubs, they may face a battle to keep Martin at the Liberty Stadium.
Funds for investment in the squad have been in limited supply at Swansea since Martin took charge, while Southampton are expected to invest again in the squad in a bid to ensure they come straight back up to the Premier League.
Some of the more experienced Premier League players are expected to move on from St Mary’s, but there remains a group of promising young players that would be exciting for any ambitious coach in Championship to work with.
Owners: Now is the time to demonstrate unity
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Gary Neville says Southampton’s strategy this season has not worked and they have not been good enough all season to stay in the Premier League
Southampton owner Sport Republic released a statement not long after their relegation was confirmed, admitting ‘significant improvement’ is required, while underlining their commitment to the club’s quest for an immediate return.
“The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and our results were simply not good enough to stay there,” read the statement.
“While this outcome is distressing for all of us, now is the time to demonstrate unity. We are grateful to our managers, our players, our staff and above all our fans for battling to the end to keep the Saints in the top tier.
“We want to reassure our supporters, our partners and our staff that we remain fully committed to achieving long-term success for the club at the top level.
“We must now reflect on the lessons to be learned from this season and start preparing for the challenges ahead of us in the Championship. Our goal is to return to the Premier League as soon as possible and ensure that we stay there.
“We understand that significant improvement is required, and at the end of the season we will announce our immediate next steps and provide details of how the club will operate moving forward.”
Southampton relegated – what has gone so badly wrong?
Southampton are a football club burdened by trouble and strife. It has been that way since their European zenith under Ronald Koeman – an extension of the fine work Mauricio Pochettino had undertaken in the two seasons before his arrival.
Saints are a far cry from the club the Dutchman inherited back in 2014. And some distance from where they themselves expected to be after establishing a brief foothold as one of the Premier League’s top-half teams.
A story that got muddled before reaching its fairytale conclusion.
Indeed, Southampton’s plight is a bit like a ‘once upon a time’, less the happy ending. A series of pinch points without the comfort of resolution.
Read more on how Southampton have found themselves relegated back to the Championship…