Daily Echo:

Saints are set to dive headfirst into interviews for a successor to Claude Puel with Frank De Boer and Mauricio Pellegrino among those on their shortlist.

Les Reed and Ross Wilson will spearhead the recruitment drive following the decision to sack Puel after just one season in charge at St Mary’s.

The club have been doing their due diligence behind the scenes and investigating possible replacements for Puel for a while.

However, they could not make any move to try and speak to anybody until the final decision was taken on Puel.

Saints met with Puel on Wednesday to deliver the bad news and confirmed publically he was being axed with a statement a couple of hours later.

That has paved the way for Saints to ramp up their search with a number of candidates expected to be interviewed.

Thomas Tuchel, the early favourite with the bookmakers, is not amongst them. The former Borussia Dortmund boss was considered but the club felt he was not the right fit for them, meaning he didn’t make it from the long list of contenders to the current shortlist. It is also being reported that Tuchel did not want to manage Saints.

Though the shortlist is a closely guarded secret, initially at least, the Daily Echo understands that De Boer and Pellegrino are two of the leading candidates.

Saints did consider De Boer last summer, but were put off of going for another Dutch legend following the departure of Ronald Koeman.

De Boer was also understood to be wary of following in Koeman’s footsteps, but is believed to have indicated that it is a job he would have liked had it not been for that factor.

The former Ajax and Barcelona great, who was widely lauded for his spell in charge of Ajax, had a disastrously short stint in charge of Inter Milan, and was sacked in November.

However, given the problems at the Italian club his reputation remains largely intact.

Pellegrino led Alaves to the Copa del Rey final in his only campaign at the helm after spells in charge of Valencia, Independiente and Estudiantes. The former Argentina international coached under Rafael Benitez at Liverpool and Inter Milan.