Daily Echo:

SAINTS have set themselves a ten day deadline to get a new manager in place.

The club’s hunt for a successor to Claude Puel is starting to pick up some momentum as they begin to interview potential candidates for the role.

Vice-chairman of football Les Reed has been keen not to rush the process, and the club certainly took their time to make a final decision over Puel’s future, but Reed is aware of the need for more pressing action now.

Saints want to have a new manager in place at least a few days before the players return for fitness testing on Thursday, June 29, with pre-season proper starting the week after.

That gives Saints around ten days to get a new man in place.

The club also want to consult quickly with a new manager about pre-season plans, hence the delay in announcing any further details of planned trips to Austria and France.

As previously reported by the Daily Echo, Frank De Boer and Mauricio Pellegrino are considered the current frontrunners for the job and both are expected to be interviewed.

Thomas Tuchel was on the initial long list of potential candidates but the club decided against progressing him to their shortlist.

Roger Schmidt was also of interest but has taken a big money job in China, while Marco Silva’s keenness to quickly get a new role saw him move from Hull to Watford and thus took him out of the reckoning.

The Daily Echo understands that though De Boer and Pellegrino are considered favourites, the club will try and speak to at least one other candidate.

It is unlikely that will be Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann.

The 29-year-old has been a sensation at the German club and Saints bosses are understood to be keen admirers.

However, Nagelsmann wants to lead Hoffenheim into the Champions League next season, has just signed a contract until 2021 which would require significant compensation to remove him from, and is widely expected to be handed one German football’s biggest jobs as early as next season.

All those factors combined have led Saints to believe it would be extremely difficult to land him at this moment in time.

The club is satisfied that they have been able to shortlist the kind of calibre of candidates that fit the profile they want and aim to continue making progress in the coming days.