Slavisa Jokanovic and Graham Potter linked with summer switch to Southampton

by Jack Kitson / 06 March 2018, 11:06

Southampton are set to sack under-fire manager Mauricio Pellegrino at the end of the season - regardless of whether he keeps the club in the Premier League - with Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic and former Saints player Graham Potter lined-up as potential replacements.

The Mirror reports that the struggling south coast side have drawn up a shortlist of managers as they prepare to make a change in the dugout for the third summer in a row.

Southampton lost Ronald Koeman to Everton back in 2016, while the Dutchman's successor Claude Puel lasted a single season, before Pellegrino ventured over from Alaves last June.

It’s safe to say that the Argentine’s appointment has backfired as the Saints currently sit down in 17th, one point above the drop zone, with a meagre return of five wins from 29 matches - only rock-bottom West Brom have won fewer (three).

Southampton’s lacklustre goalless draw at home to relegation rivals Stoke over the weekend means that Pellegrino’s men have now only won one of their last 16 league games dating back to November.

They’ve also not tasted victory at St Mary’s in a whopping eight Premier League games, which is an unwanted club record.

The media’s frenzied focus on the under-fire trio of Alan Pardew, Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte means that Pellegrino’s own precarious position has been in the shadows, which has potentially helped him avoid the sack.

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However, Southampton supporters are well aware of their own problems. Many of whom want Pellegrino out right now, but if the latest reports are to be believed then they may have to wait until the end of the season.

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic was linked with the Saints last year, only to be overlooked in favour of Pellegrino. The Serb previously led Watford up to the Premier League in 2015, then came close to repeating the feat with Fulham last season, only to lose out in the play-offs. At the time of writing the 4th-placed Cottagers are one of the most in-form teams in the Championship as they go in search of an automatic promotion spot.

Jokanovic is actually one of only a select number of managers (six) who have lost to Pellegrino in English football, but this aside, his exciting brand of attacking, high-tempo, and free-scoring football would be most welcome at a club that have been bored senseless under Puel and Pellegrino.

The Saints are also believed to be interested in their former player Graham Potter (1996 - 1997), who played in the club’s famous 6-3 demolition of Man Utd.

Potter’s name has catapulted into the wider footballing sphere this season following Ostersunds’ stunning run through to the Europa League knockout stages, during which the Englishman conjured up a shock win over Arsene Wenger at the Emirates.

Since taking charge of the Swedish club back in 2011 Potter has worked wonders, leading his troops to three promotions up to the top-flight, Swedish Cup glory, then into Europe.

Potter’s achievements have not gone unnoticed over on these shores, but while the 42-year-old is currently loving life in Sweden, should his former club come calling in the summer, the chance to become a Premier League manager may prove to be difficult to turn down.

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