Dutch legend Ronald Koeman would be open to becoming the new manager of Saints, the Daily Echo can reveal.
The 51-year-old is due to leave his position as head coach of Feyenoord this summer, and would be interested in replacing Mauricio Pochettino at St Mary’s.
Koeman’s agent told the Echo that no approach has been received from the club, but that the former Barcelona player would be keen to discuss the vacancy if Saints wished to talk with him.
“We haven’t been approached by anybody, but he would like to work in the Premier League,” said Guido Albers.
“From Ronald’s point of view, it would be amazing. I think it would be a very good success for the club, but also for the Premier League to get a coach like him.
“He is very technical, and very offensive. His team makes goals. They scored more than any other team in Holland this season.”
Koeman, who won 78 caps for the Netherlands during a glittering playing career, took the helm at Feyenoord in 2011, overseeing an upturn in fortunes at the club he once played for.
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 this term.
Among others, Koeman has also had spells managing Ajax and PSV – two clubs he played for during his career – while he has also taken charge at Benfica and Valencia.
He was installed by bookmakers as one of the favourites to succeed Pochettino, after the Argentine resigned from Saints to join Spurs on Tuesday.
As chairman Ralph Krueger told the Echo this week, the club have already assembled a prospective list of potential candidates for the job.
This is due to be whittled down into a final shortlist over the coming days.
A number of names have already been linked, including ex-Basel coach Murat Yakin.
The former Swiss national player, 39, has also declared himself interested.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet was said to be another possibility, but he signed a new two-year contract at the Stadium of Light this week, ending any interest in him.
Saints are understood to have begun sounding out interest and availability from managers and coaches, with Krueger also revealing this week that executive director Les Reed, who is leading the search, has been inundated by “high-calibre” applicants.
Former Brighton boss Oscar Garcia is one person whose situation is said to have been checked out.
The Spaniard left the Seagulls earlier this month after their semi-final defeat to Derby in the Championship play-offs, and has already been approached by other clubs, with Celtic and Malaga both said to be interested.
No serious contact has been made from Saints, but it is claimed that a check has been made on his potential availability.
That is something the club will likely be doing with a number of people, as they further assess the landscape.
It is apparent that there is certainly plenty of interest in the post, both domestically and abroad.
Former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay is another name who has been linked, and he would indeed be keen on the job, but no contact has been made with him.
Krueger’s revelation this week that the club’s 20-strong scouting and recruitment department, who helped find Pochettino, have continually been researching and profiling managers, and have already provided a long list of possibilities, means the club should be starting from a strong position as they work out a serious list of names.