The Express report that Southampton are preparing to sack manager Claude Puel after just one year in charge, with the Saints ready to pay the price, having previously hoped that he would return to France with Saint Etienne, only for the manager to decide against a move.
That would have seen the club receive compensation, but they now face paying a hefty severance package to sack Puel.
After dropping two places and finishing with 14 points fewer than the season before, Puel’s 2016/17 season was a huge disappointment, only made worse by the club being knocked out of the Europa League after a home draw with Hapoel Beer Sheva allowed them to progress at the south coast club’s expense.
An EFL Cup final defeat may have been memorable, with Manolo Gabbiadini almost doing enough to give the side a shot, but Manchester United overpowered the St. Mary’s outfit on their big day out at Wembley.
Now, the club will look to bring in a replacement, with five of the top candidates considered here…
The ex-Leeds boss rebuilt his reputation with an impressive season at Elland Road putting his sacking at Swansea behind him. Having found himself at the wrong end of the Premier League table, he was out of a job but has now recovered in the Championship and looks to have a promising career ahead of him in management.
An end of season collapse cost the Yorkshire club a play-off place, but given the off the field events Monk deserves credit for even threatening for promotion with a side which played attractive football and looked like candidates for automatic promotion earlier on in the campaign.
Having opted to leave the club at the end of the season when his contract expired, Monk may be surprised not to have been in higher demand in the first few weeks in the summer, but currently the bookies’ favourite, he would be a strong choice by Southampton.
Read on over the following pages to see the alternatives…