According to Saturday’s reports, Southampton has a six-man list of candidates to replace Mauricio Pochettino, though given philosophies of the man Saints lost to Tottenham, one of the names being considered may surprise supporters at St. Mary’s. In the wake of the intense, possession-based style the 42-year-old brought from Espanyol, Southampton management is willing to consider somebody whose teams have typically embodied an entirely different approach. Steve Bruce, who took Hull City to this year’s FA Cup final, is among the names on Saints’ list.
Southampton has also reportedly spoken to Ronald Koeman, who left Feyenoord in the Eredivisie last month. According to The Guardian, the Dutch defending icon may be Southampton’s favorite, with Bruce giving the club the option of hiring somebody with experience in England.
From the report:
Southampton … want to make an appointment by the end of week and Bruce has emerged as the English option because of Hull’s considerable improvement under his management …
Bruce regards Southampton as an upgrade, even at a time when the club is being threatened by an exodus of their best players. However, it is understood he is not the front-runner for the job, with Koeman meeting Southampton officials during the week.
Koeman left Feyenoord last month and the 51-year-old appeals to Southampton because of his philosophy of bringing through young players and adopting an attacking playing style.
Bruce’s style wouldn’t readily be called “attacking,” particularly relative to Pochettino or Koeman’s. His approach also doesn’t particularly emphasize possession or technical play, perhaps a function of the talent Bruce has had around him. In charge of the players his clubs have bought, however, the teams Bruce has built bear few similarities to what we’ve seen from the Saints since their Premier League return.
Wouldn’t somebody like a Michael Laudrup be a better fit? He eventually flamed out with Swansea, but his style of play would be a better fit. What about Roberto Di Matteo, or perhaps placing a call to Sunderland to see if Guy Poyet may be available. If you are going to go for somebody with a wealth of experience in England, that guy who just left Old Trafford would probably be a better option, too (not that he’d take the job). Why is Bruce on this list?
Ultimately, it may not matter. After success at Feyenoord, Koeman seems a near-perfect fit with the Saints. Even if it’s unclear why he’s been targeted before others, Bruce may only be a backup play at Southampton.