Jesse Marsch close to being named next Southampton manager
Southampton are closing in on the appointment of Jesse Marsch, the former Leeds United manager, following positive talks on Monday.
A deal has not yet been finalised and details like salary and, most crucially, length of contract are still to be agreed but all sides are keen on Marsch making an almost instant Premier League return following his sacking by Leeds United just over a week ago.
For Southampton, there is a feeling that Marsch fits with the pressing style of football that the club became identified with during the most productive days of Ralph Hasenhüttl and that he also has the personality to make an immediate impact and maximise their declining hopes of salvaging the season.
Marsch, the former Red Bull Salzburg manager, guided Leeds to Premier League survival on the final day of last season and has admirers within Sport Republic, who are the owners and majority shareholders at St Mary’s Stadium.
He is also keen on a quick return to the dugout. Southampton have sacked Hasenhüttl and Nathan Jones already this season and have also been seriously considering the option of trialling interim manager Ruben Selles, who is tipped as a future manager, alongside an experienced coach.
The enthusiasm and vision of Marsch, though, has impressed the Southampton hierarchy, who face a big decision over the length of contract that they might offer.
The club have already taken a huge financial hit on Jones, who cost £4 million in compensation to Luton Town, and will be due further compensation himself on the remaining years of a contract that had lasted until 2026.
Jones’s stormy tenure was ended on Sunday morning, less than 24 hours after the home defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers which leaves the club bottom of the table. Jones managed Southampton for just nine Premier League games, which included eight defeats.
Southampton felt like they had no option but to make the change and ease the pressure and toxic atmosphere that was consuming the club.
It had reached a point whereby just about every social media posting that Southampton made would be followed by numerous ‘Jones Out’ messages and the club’s own fans were chanting for him to be sacked during matches.
Saturday’s defeat has left Southampton cut adrift at the bottom of the Premier League table on just 15 points, although some grains of comfort have been taken from the positive impact of new signings Carlos Alcaraz and Kamaldeen Sulemana.
There is now considerable pressure on the club’s leadership team, notably Rasmus Ankersen, the chief executive of Sport Republic, who led the heavily data-influenced appointment of Jones after he had taken Luton Town to the Championship play-offs last season on a limited budget.
Southampton next face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and are acutely conscious that the dreadful league form under Jones has coincided with what, in theory, should have been winnable fixtures. The four home defeats were against Brighton, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa as well as Wolves and contributed to Southampton’s worst run of home form this century. They were also beaten away at Liverpool, Fulham and Brentford during Jones’s 95-day tenure.