Manuel Pellegrini is without a club since being told he won’t be staying on with Manchester City last season, and has voiced a desire to stay in the English Premier League, with most of the ‘top’ jobs already taken, it looked like he wasn’t going to get his wish, but now, with Ronald Koeman trading Southampton for Mersyside, here is Pellegrini’s best chance to stay in the league with one of the more exciting prospects he could get.
A tactician and a thinker in the same mold as Koeman, Pellegrini’s addition to the Southampton set up would serve as no great change to the norm of the last three years. A perfectionist, he mastered the tactic known as ‘Death by Geometry’ with his championship winning Manchester City side of 2013-2014. City became synonymous with intricate passing and strong finishing from all angles. They ran teams to all areas of the pitch and used wingers in their traditional role to perfection as a supplement to goal scoring with the prolific Sergio Aguero.
Able to master such a style of play, Pellegrini has shown he is capable with the very best, and this ability is what Southampton need. Promoted in a blaze of glory from League 1 to Championship to the English Premier League in successive years, they came in and no one thought they’d stay. Well four years on, they’ve not only stayed, but they have outplayed some of the best teams in that time and competed for European Football in the last three. Under the guidance of the silent genius, Mauricio Pochetinno and the ‘Thinker’ Ronald Koeman, Southampton are learning a creative and attractive brand of football which is seeing results. This must continue, and Pellegrini is the best option to do so.
Not only is he a tactician of the highest order, but his also a footballing ‘draw.’ He is known entity and with a stint at Real Madrid to his name, as well as a title winning tenure with Manchester City, people will want to play for him. Much like Pochetinno has been at Tottenham, people will want to be a part of a team and culture that inspires winning and enjoyment on the football pitch. A key factor as Southampton face yet another raid on their top talent.
A yearly occurrence, Southampton have become a proving ground for other English Premier League and European teams to buy from, with the likes of Luke Shaw, Callum Chambers, Nat Clyne, Jack Cork and Adam Llalana all moving onto other clubs in recent seasons.
The addition of Pellegrini could dissuade the likes of Saido Mane, Jay Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse from moving onto bigger clubs knocking on their doors once again and help to take the team to the next level that it has been threatening to do for the past few seasons. In need of an off season rebuild as it is, the Saints must act quickly to ensure the core of their team stays together. A top 8 team as they are, should Pellegrini be hired as their new manager, he could develop this team into one fighting for the top four in a similar vein to West Ham have done in recent years.
Pellegrini knows how to make players better, he developed James Milner into a threatening utility during his last season with City and he knows how to get good players playing in a good system. Two facets of his managerial ability which make him the best candidate for the job. Expect him to be signed up within the next two to three weeks and as a result, expect to see Southampton making some serious noise in the transfer market this off season and in the Premier League upon its resumption.