Ronald Koeman walked into a Southampton team coming off the back of a stellar 18 months under Mauricio Ponchetinno and had a huge task ahead of him. Not only did he need to repeat the dose, he also needed to rebuild a team that has now become known as a ‘seller’.
He did both things. In two years, he broken the previous points records, whilst also bringing in the likes of Graziano Pelle, Harrison Reed, Saido Mane and Juanmi to bolster the line-up. Now, with his time with the Saints appearing to be at an end as he looks set to join Everton, his achievements show that he is capable of turning a team around and there is no top team in more need of a turn around right now then Everton. There is no doubt he is the man for the job.
A proud club with a history of competing within the top half of the table and often for European football, Everton failed miserably under Roberto Martinez this season. Finishing 12th, they not only missed out on European football, but they look set to lose their best players to the lure of such competition. Romelu Lukaku has publicly stated that he is assessing his options, with the likes of Chelsea and Juventus circling whilst star English defender John Stones looks more and more likely to join Manchester City with Barcelona’s pursuit coming to an end in recent days.
Even before he arrives, he is to take charge of a club which is an all too similar position to Southampton had been, and this is why his arrival will be the best piece of business Everton will do for the next half-decade. Wrongfully going unmentioned for the Manchester United job, Koeman is a thinker like few others. In the midst of a team shelled by the big-spending raid’s of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, they were able to still attract talent to a team that many would have considered a sinking ship. His eye for young talent is another asset to Everton which could see them change dramatically in the long run.
His appeal, knowledge and nouse is highlighted by the fact that the new Everton owner has spent $5 million of the buyout of Ronald, his brother and assistant Erwin and their head fitness coach without batting an eyelid.
Born out of the Dutch philosophy of the late 70’s and early 80’s, he knows winning football, and with the impending raid on their top tier talent, he is also a big enough name to attract the replacements needed to keep them afloat and push them back to European contention where they feel they belong. Having plied his trade with Ajax, considered to be the pinnacle of technical football and the epicentre of youth development, he knows how take players from one level to the next. It also shows, especially during his time with Southampton, he is unafraid to blood young talent to fast-track their development.
He is a manager who instills belief in his team when no one else does, reminiscent of how Sir Alex Ferguson was able to win his last two Premier League titles. He knows what it takes to get players to play above themselves, something which the Everton squad didn’t do this year.