Could Eddie Howe switch Bournemouth for Southampton?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 16 May 2017, 11:24

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has been cut from 25/1 to 17/2 (Paddy Power) to dart along the south coast to rivals Southampton.

The future of Saints boss Claude Puel has hit the headlines in recent weeks, with a number of reports claiming that he'll leave St Mary's in the summer.

Although the man himself is refusing to be drawn into the speculation, insisting that it's business as usual.

The Frenchman replaced Ronald Koeman last summer, and went on to oversee Southampton's venture into the Europa League, during which they conjured up a famous victory over Inter Milan, although in the end the club disappointingly missed out on a place in the knockout stages.

Puel then led the Saints through to the EFL Cup Final - their first major Wembley cup final since 1976 - but despite an impressive showing on the day they lost out 3-2 to Man Utd.

But, in contrast to recent seasons, Southampton's league form has been below-par, with the Hampshire side notably failing to beat any of the current top-6 so far this term, although that could change on Wednesday night when they do battle with Man Utd.

At the time of writing the Saints sit 9th on 45 points with two matches remaining.

What is definite is Puel's troops will be unable to surpass their points tallies from any of the previous three seasons, but on the plus side they still have the chance of bagging a top-8 standing for the fourth campaign in a row.

It's important to remember that Puel is on a three-year contract, but if the Saints do decide to cut ties at the end of the season, then there will be no shortage of options in terms of his successor.

Hull boss Marco Silva has been touted as a future Saints boss, and it's the Portuguese coach who tops the betting at 13/5 in the Next Southampton Manager Market, while PSG boss Unai Emery and former Saints gaffer Alan Pardew also feature in the betting.

However, one interesting name in the frame is Bournemouth boss Howe who of course has been linked with Southampton in the past.

Howe, in his second spell with the Cherries, famously led the club into the Premier League in 2015 and has since twice preserved the club's top-flight status, while he could even bag a top-10 finish at the weekend.

Whether Howe would suddenly switch Bournemouth for Southampton appears very unlikely. Howe is an absolute icon at Dean Court meaning a move to their neighbours would be a hard pill to swallow.

However, stranger things have happened...

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