Southampton are weighing up the ideal time to sack Ralph Hasenhuttl, with a bombshell report claiming a new manager is ‘imminent’.
The Austrian, 55, is the Premier League’s fourth-longest serving manager at present. Only Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Frank have been in their positions longer.
Hasenhuttl has been at the Southampton helm since 2018, and through thick and thin, has retained his job.
He presided over two 9-0 defeats, to Leicester in 2019 and Manchester United in 2021 respectively.
Nonetheless, Hasenhuttl always kept the Saints’ head above water and was heralded for his tactical nous.
However,according to the Telegraph, Hasenhuttl’s time at St Mary’s is quickly coming to a close and the club are now prepared to take a leap of faith.
They state Southampton are ‘considering the timing’ of his firing and a new manager is reportedly ‘imminent’.
The outlet do not hint at who the new boss could be, though report potential candidates have been discussed internally.
While the identity of the next manager isn’t yet known, three reasons as to why Hasenhuttl is going to be axed have been revealed.
Three reasons why Hasenhuttl could go
Firstly, the obvious issue of on-field results is cited.
Southampton currently sit 16th having lost five of their opening eight matches. Their form at the back end of last season is also cited, with Southampton losing nine of 12 to finish the last campaign in sorry fashion.
The second reason relates to Hasenhuttl apparently struggling to connect with his players.
It’s stated he’s failed to forge solid relationships with his players away from the pitch, especially those who weren’t at the forefront of his first-team plans.
The final reasons revolves around the club’s recruitment policy, specifically that of signing young, up and coming stars.
Southampton reportedly seek a manager who is more accustomed to developing rising stars.
Hasenhuttl has worked wonders with the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters and summer recruits Romeo Lavia and Armel Bella-Kotchap.
However, per the report, the Saints want someone even better at fine-tuning the young stars they’ll continue to keep signing.
When could Southampton pull the trigger?
The report described a new manager as ‘imminent’, though that appears to be jumping the gun slightly.
It’s hinted Hasenhuttl may still be in charge for this weekend’s game, though given the opponents, he might wish he won’t be.
The Saints travel to the Etihad for a 3pm kick-off on Saturday. After demolishing Man Utd in the derby last weekend, Pep Guardiola’s Man City are in red-hot form and Erling Haaland will fancy his chances at plundering yet another hattrick.
It’s noted Hasenhuttl has proved himself an acute tactician in the past. That allowed him to guide Southampton to a hard fought draw against City at St Mary’s in January.
A repeat of that display on Saturday might still not be enough to save his job.