Southampton Appoint Claude Puel

by Andy Dillon / 30 June 2016, 14:13

Southampton have ended their eventful three-week search for a new manager after naming Claude Puel as Ronald Koeman's successor at St Mary's. The Frenchman, 54, had been locked in talks with the south coast club, but now he's agreed a three-year deal as he becomes the club's 20th boss in the Premier League era.

Claude Puel

Puel and Southampton a perfect fit

A plethora of managers had been linked with the attractive top-flight vacancy, including Manuel Pellegrini, Eddie Howe, Frank de Boer, and Jurgen Klinsmann. However, it's Puel whose now bagged the job due to his focus on developing and promoting young players, along with his philosophy of high-pressing attacking football, while his European experience will be crucial as the Saints prepare for their Europa League campaign.

During a 17-year career in the managerial arena Puel has taken charge of Monaco, Lyon, Lille, and most recently Nice, although he's never managed outside of France. The 54-year-old has hoisted the French title with Monaco, led Lyon to the Champions League semi-finals, while he steered Nice to their highest finish since 1976 (4th) last term.

Preventing a mass exodus

Puel's first task will be preventing the departure of any more players - unless silly money is being offered. The transfer market has so far been a busy once for the Saints, who have already lost victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane to Tottenham and Liverpool respectively, while luring over Nathan Redmond from Norwich. At the time of writing Italy striker Graziano Pelle is being linked with a move away, as is Ireland's Shane Long.

The future is bright at St Mary's

Southampton recorded back-to-back recorded Premier League finishes under Koeman, 7th then 6th, and now under the tutorship of Puel the Hampshire outfit can be backed at 14/1 (Sky Bet) to finish in the top-4 for the first time in their history. The more optimistic of Saints supporters can find their troops at 150/1 to "do a Leicester" and hoist the top-flight trophy, while the club have been handed odds of 25/1 to win the Europa League.

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