Southampton’s proud position among England’s elite is in danger of shattering like glass, with the Saints bottom of the Premier League and without a manager for the second time in four months.
What’s new regarding Southampton’s manager hunt?
Jesse Marsch was recently relieved of his duties at Leeds United, with the Whites boasting just four league victories all season and consequently just one point above the relegation zone.
However, according to The Athletic, the 49-year-old may be handed a swift reintroduction to the Premier League stage, with Southampton reported to hold a “long-standing interest” in the American which pre-dates Sport Republic’s initial arrival at St Mary’s 13 months ago.
With Nathan Jones sacked after just 14 matches in charge, the Saints need to find the perfect replacement in short time, currently rooted to the foot of the table and four points from safety.
Is Jesse Marsch the right fit?
Jones achieved success at Luton Town, but seven defeats from eight Premier League matches with a Southampton side in the thick of a relegation battle, along with a sense of alienation with much of the fanbase, left him with little chance of replicating his good fortunes from Kenilworth Road.
Despite excelling in domestic cup competitions, beating Manchester City in the Carabao Cup and through to the last 16 of the FA Cup, where fourth-tier Grimsby Town await, the Saints are probably in their most precarious position since returning to the top flight in 2012.
After Ralph Hasenhuttl lost his place at the helm earlier this season, Jones was duly snapped up from the Hatters, but league progress has been devoid of substance on his brief watch, so Sport Republic must get the next appointment right.
Failure to appoint a suitable replacement would likely result in relegation in the new owners’ first full season in charge, despite spending roughly £128m since the summer.
While it did not quite work out for Marsch at Leeds, there were promising signs of a good team spirit during his tenure, and his dismissal after less than a year in the job is not wholly indicative of his calibre, or indeed his suitability for the project at St Marys.
The aforementioned report from The Athletic suggests that Marsch would be a good fit for this Southampton team, with his philosophy holding semblance to Hasenhuttl’s due to their shared former affiliation with the Red Bull sporting project in central Europe.
Daily Echo correspondent Alfie House took an optimistic view on the prospective appointment, tweeting: “If Jesse Marsch is to be the next Southampton manager, I think the personnel is there to suit him.”
With the spectre of relegation lurking just around the corner, Southampton CEO Martin Semmens will be anxious to get this appointment right, and Marsch could implement a high-octane, vertical emphasis which could excite the club’s hierarchy, with imposing January signing Paul Onuachu perhaps one to ostensibly prosper from such a setup.
Hope can also be taken from Marsch’s initial impact in Yorkshire; a run of ten points from his first six games ultimately proved pivotal in Leeds surviving relegation on the final day of the 2021/22 season. Under his management, Southampton could look to emulate the bounce which came in tandem with his arrival at Elland Road.
The Saints must act swiftly and with conviction if they are to salvage their season and repel the imminent and looming threat of relegation. By hiring Marsch, Hasenhuttl’s once-prosperous tactical blueprint – now dusty and neglected in Hampshire – could be utilised once again.
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