Southampton manager latest: Saints chiefs plan daring Premier League club raid to replace Hasenhuttl

Jesse Marsch and Steven Gerrard

Southampton are reportedly looking at Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch as one of two potential managers who could replace Ralph Hasenhuttl at St Mary’s.

Hasenhuttl has been in charge of Southampton since December 2018, when he replaced Mark Hughes and became the first Austrian to manage in the Premier League. He guided Southampton to safety in the 2018-19 campaign, having taken over when they were in 18th place.

During his first full season at Southampton the following year, Hasenhuttl helped the south coast club to finish 11th. This represented their best campaign in the Prem since 2016-17.

Southampton haven’t managed to compete for a top-10 finish in the last couple of seasons. And they have had a slow start this term, picking up just seven points from their opening eight matches.

The Saints have lost their last three games and this is putting Hasenhuttl under serious pressure. And according to a recent report from The Telegraph, Southampton are ‘considering the timing’ of the 55-year-old’s sacking. A new manager is apparently ‘imminent’ at the club.

The Times provide an intriguing follow-up to that story and reveal two of the coaches Southampton officials are considering.

In a surprising turn of events, Southampton have Leeds’ Marsch on their radar.

Another manager they are looking at bringing in is Steve Cooper. The Welshman’s position at Nottingham Forest has been under threat recently amid their poor start to the season.

Jesse Marsch pursuit an ambitious one for Southampton

The link with Marsch is a shock one for a few reasons. First of all, he only joined Leeds in late February and has a three-year contract at Elland Road.

It is unlikely Marsch would want to leave Leeds so soon into his challenge there. Plus, Southampton may struggle to pay Leeds the necessary compensation to release Marsch from his contract.

Another reason why a move to Southampton probably won’t happen is the fact Leeds are higher in the table than Marsch’s potential suitors.

The Whites sit 12th after picking up two draws and three wins from their first seven outings. This puts them four places ahead of Southampton.

Due to these factors, Southampton’s reported pursuit of Marsch is a particularly ambitious one.

Steve Cooper could have been a great appointment

Cooper may have been a better option for the Saints. He was close to becoming a free agent when Forest were considering sacking him. Bruno Lage and New York Red Bulls boss Gerhard Struber were named as potential successors.

However, Southampton will now struggle to land Cooper. That’s because the 42-year-old has just signed a new contract at Forest.

A club statement read: ‘Nottingham Forest is delighted to announce that Steve Cooper has signed a new contract with the Club.

‘The Forest Head Coach has signed a new deal at The City Ground running until 2025.’

Forest added: ‘It is now important that our focus is solely on football. As a group we are all concentrated and will do everything we can to help the team move up the league table and once again demonstrate our qualities that led us to the Premier League.’

Meanwhile, Friday’s Transfer Gossip claims Chelsea are planning to ruin Tottenham’s ‘dream’ centre-back signing.