USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann has come from nowhere to become the odds-on favourite to succeed Ronald Koeman at Southampton.
USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann has come from nowhere to become the odds-on favourite to succeed Ronald Koeman at Southampton. The German who led the USA to a CONCACAF Gold Cup victory in 2013 and guided his home nation to third place as they hosted the 2006 World Cup is known more for his managerial experience at international level than that at club level.
Klinsmann will be known to English football fans from two brief yet successful spells at Tottenham Hotspur in the ’90s. He has spent the last 5 years in charge of the USA national team and was Germany manager from 2004-2006. His solitary season in club football came during the 2008/9 season in which he managed Bayern Munich. Wolfsburg won the title finishing 2 points ahead of Bayern meaning Klinsmann`s side lost the title they had won 12 months previously under Ottmar Hitzfeld.
Many Saints fans will be concerned at Klinsmann`s lack of experience in club football, however, recent managerial appointments show that a good manager does not need to have a great CV in order to succeed. Mauricio Pochettino was relatively unheard of when he replaced Nigel Adkins at St. Marys. Having struggled and been sacked by Espanyol two months prior to his move to Hampshire, expectations were low for the Argentinian. Crucial home wins against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea led the club to a respectable 14th place finish in their first Premier League season since 2004/5 and a record-breaking first full season under Pochettino took the club to a joint-highest 8th place finish which ended with the manger departing to Tottenham.
It was a similar story with Ronald Koeman who was known more for his ability as a player than a manager. Despite managing some big clubs in smaller leagues around Europe such as Ajax and Benfica, Koeman only spent one season in a major league before his move to Southampton as he spent the 2007/8 season at Valencia in Spain. Despite winning the Copa Del Rey, his spell was seen as an unsuccessful one with Valencia finishing bottom of their Champions League group and 15th in La Liga, just 2 points above the relegation zone. Fast-forward to 2014 and he oversaw a large overhaul of players at St. Marys before guiding the club to successive record breaking finishes in terms of both points and league position. A 7th place finish in 2015 and a 6th place finish the following year ensured Europa League football, the latter meaning the club will enter the competition at the group stages next season.
After Klinsmann, Manuel Pellegrini remains in the running to replace Koeman despite a big money offer from the Russian national team. He is thought to be keen on the job. Frenchman Claude Puel is third-favourite. Fenerbahce manager Vitor Pereira has recently distanced himself from the role as has ex-Roma boss Rudi Garcia. Early favourites Eddie Howe, Andre Villas-Boas and Unai Emery have all drifted in the odds although Frank De Boer still remains in the running at 8/1 fourth-favourite.