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Saints speak with Koeman - who's a "perfect" fit
Saints have held talks with Dutch legend Ronald Koeman - with one of the club's former managers describing him as a "perfect" choice to replace Mauricio Pochettino.
The 51-year-old outgoing Feyenoord boss is a serious contender to succeed Pochettino at St Mary’s, after the Argentine quit to join Tottenham last week.
Koeman met with officials from Saints on Monday to discuss the position, although the club are expected to also meet with other candidates.
The timescale for an appointment is most likely to be another ten days to two weeks, but Koeman is very much in the frame.
Fellow Dutchman Mark Wotte, who managed Saints during the 2008/09 campaign, believes Koeman, who remains the odds-on favourite with the bookies, would be an excellent choice.
“In my opinion, Ronald Koeman is perfect for Southampton for several reasons,” he said.
“He has a great CV as a player, winning the 1988 European Championship with Holland and the Champions League with Barcelona “But he has also managed PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord, as well as Valencia and Benfica abroad, so he is a very experienced coach.”
Wotte, who is currently the Scottish Football Association’s performance director, believes Koeman would bring a similar footballing philosophy to that of Pochettino, while he would also be willing to promote players from the academy system.
“As a Dutch manager, he is always used to playing ‘the Dutch way’, with high pressure, a passing style and a positive approach, playing to win and not always playing not to lose,” he said.
“His last job at Feyenoord was initially a big challenge, as a lack of funds forced him to work with ‘the kids’, but most of them now are selected in the 23-man squad for Holland and also qualifying for the Champions League first phase – a great achievement for the Feyenoord academy, but also for the talent management skills of Ronald Koeman.
“Knowing Southampton and St Mary’s personally, he would be an excellent choice.”
One of Koeman’s biggest influences is Johan Cruyff, having played in his famous Barcelona team from 1989 to 1995, winning the European Cup in 1992.
The centre-half, who was capped 78 times by his country, moved into management after hanging up his boots, working as an assistant with the national team and then Barcelona.
His first manager’s job came at Vittesse Arnhem, leading them to a sixth-place finish in the 2000/01 Eredivisie, before moving to Ajax.
He won the domestic double in his first season there, finished as runners-up in the next campaign, and then regained the league title in 2003/04.
He left in 2005, as PSV regained status as top dogs, then joined Portuguese side Benfica.
Koeman spent a fairly unsuccessful year there, before taking up the reins at PSV.
Again, he lasted just one full season, before joining Valencia, although he did deliver an Eredivisie title before his departure.
In Spain, he won the Copa del Rey, but Valencia’s league form proved poor, with the club parting company with Koeman in April 2008.
A brief, unsuccessful stint with AZ Alkmaar then followed.
In 2011, though, Koeman arrived at Feyenoord, reviving the ailing club.
Having finished tenth in the Eredivisie the season before he arrived, Koeman led Feyenoord to second place in his first campaign – their best result in 11 years.
They then came third in 2012/13, before finishing as runners-up to Ajax last term.
Koeman announced in February that he would leave the club this summer, when his contract expired.
Former Swansea boss Michael Laudrup, another name who might fit the bill, does not look to be in the frame.
In an interview in his homeland, the Dane has said he will take time out of the game until an opportunity with a really big club comes along.
Previous bookies’ favourite Murat Yakin is not thought to have been approached.
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