How Ronald Koeman’s Southampton tenure unraveled quickly

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May 15: Southampton finished sixth in the Premier League, qualified for the 2016-17 Europa League campaign and Ronald Koeman was lauded for delivering Saints’ highest-ever finish and points tally in the PL era for the second-straight season.

Days later, it was clear Koeman’s head was elsewhere and a few weeks later he’s on the verge of joining Everton as their new manager.

[ MORE: How Saints plan to crack US

In the past 10 days speculation has been rife that Koeman, 53, would swap St Mary’s for Goodison Park and all we’re waiting for now is official confirmation that he is the new Toffees chief which should arrive by tomorrow at the latest.

ProSoccerTalk understands an $8 million compensation package has been agreed between Everton and Saints for Koeman as the Dutchman had one-year left on the three-year deal he signed in the summer of 2014 when he took over at Southampton.

How, though, did everything change so quickly for him at Southampton?

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A source with inside knowledge of the situation has confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that even as recent as last week when Koeman arrived back from a Caribbean vacation, Saints believed he would sign the two-year contract extension they had offered him to become the highest-paid manager in club history. He had held several “positive” meetings with Southampton’s executive director Les Reed and everything pointed towards him remaining in charge for another three years.

Yet, when he arrived back from St. Barts it was clear that was no longer the case.

A pivotal factor in that was Koeman switching his agent in late May, replacing Guido Albers with Rob Jansen. That’s when the first alarm bells started to ring at St Mary’s after months of speculation surrounding Koeman’s future with just 12 months left on his current deal. The Dutchman has stated several times since January that he would see out the final year of his deal at Saints, at least, and officials at the club believed that would be the case until the situation took a dramatic twist over the past 5-7 days.

There had been subtle changes in Koeman’s rhetoric in the past few months during constant questions from the media about his contract situation at Saints. Talk of finding out if his own ambition was going to be matched by Southampton was frequent but it never truly seemed like he wouldn’t be in charge at St Mary’s next season.

A source has confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that Koeman and his old agent, Albers, were happy to sign the lucrative new contract at Southampton but after Jansen arrived and with Everton said to be offering in excessive of $7 million per year for the former Barcelona and Holland defender to replace Roberto Martinez, things changed. Quickly.

Officials at Southampton are said to be frustrated by Koeman’s impending departure but are already working through a shortlist of candidates to replace him and continue their incredible ascent going. Since their rise from the third-tier in 2011, Saints have now recorded higher finishes in terms of their league position in each of the last seven campaigns.

ProSoccerTalk also understands that several members of Southampton’s first-team squad who were said to be unhappy under Koeman are now happy to stay at St Mary’s and see who arrives as the new boss.

Surrounding all of that, the debate about whether or not Everton is a step up or a sideways move for Koeman is an endless one.

Southampton have finished above Everton in each of the past two seasons but Koeman perhaps felt he delivered all he could at Saints given the mass player sales he had to endure in his first summer in charge, then both Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne leaving last summer. With new Everton owner Farhad Moshiri reportedly handing Koeman $150 million to spend on new players, plus their larger global fanbase and history of greater success compared to Saints, perhaps Koeman fancied the challenge of awakening a sleeping giant of English soccer.

We will find out the answers to those questions in the coming days but one thing we do know is things changed for Koeman at Saints very quickly as he decided his future was elsewhere.

Man City vs Man United: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Manchester City vs Manchester United: Erling Haaland is set for his Manchester derby debut when the two-time defending champions host the rapidly improving Red Devils at Etihad Stadium on Sunday (watch live, 9 am ET on Peacock Premium). 

STREAM LIVE MAN CITY vs MAN UNITED

Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm with an absurd 11 goals scored in his first seven games after (ostensibly) choosing Man City over Man United before leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer.

Six weeks ago, Manchester United had not a single point from their first two games, including a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of tiny Brentford, but Erik ten Hag has since switched tactical course en route to four straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over PL leaders Arsenal last time out, to set up this hugely intriguing showdown on Sunday.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Man City vs Man United

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Manchester City vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9 am ET, Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?

As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

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WATCH: Lionel Messi spins gorgeous free kick goal past Nice’s Schmeichel

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Lionel Messi got the better of Kasper Schmeichel with an outstanding free kick as Paris Saint-Germain outlasted Nice 2-1 on Saturday at the Parc des Princes.

The world’s greatest scorer was fouled to set up a free kick just inside the arc. Nice, of course, got into a wall and former Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel arranged it to his liking.

As he does so many times, however, Messi spun a free kick just over the wall. The ball, which came so close to taking a slight turn off a leaping wall member (actually, did it?), tumbled down and right into the side netting to give PSG a 1-0 lead before the match was a half-hour old.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi scores relentless Groningen goal ]

Gaetan Laborde tied the match before halftime, and Nice’s revamped roster looked set to hold tight for a point (The club’s signed familiar Premier League names Schmeichel, Ross Barkley, Aaron Ramsey, and Mario Lemina).

Even that wouldn’t be enough, though, as Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to replace young Hugo Ekitike to finish a Nordi Mukiele assist for a 2-1 win.

PSG has eight wins and a draw this season, good for a two-point lead on second-place Marseille. Messi has five goals and a joint-league-best seven assists, tied with Neymar. Mbappe and Neymar are tied for the league goals lead with eight.

Lionel Messi free kick goal video

USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi defies xG with relentless goal (video)

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USMNT forward Ricardo Pepi’s goal while trying to will Groningen back into an eventual 4-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar on Saturday will not be one of the expected variety.

The 19-year-old striker, on loan from Augsburg, ran onto an audacious long pass from 20-year-old defender Neraysho Kasanwirjo but had plenty of work to do with AZ leading 2-0.

[ MORE: Josef Martinez scores audacious overhead goal ]

Pepi sees one defender fall in a race to the ball, then bodies up AZ’s Sam Beukema a little outside the six-yard box.

Hand-to-hand combat sees both players hit the turf, and Pepi probably could won a penalty.

But the World Cup hopeful spins while on the pitch and snaps a shot past charging AZ goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst to make it 2-1.

Video after the jump.

Ricardo Pepi
fotmob.com

Ricardo Pepi goal video: Fantastic start to Groningen loan

Pepi now has a goal or an assist in his first three Eredivisie outings, not unlike his fantastic start to life in a USMNT shirt.

His goal contributions have taken a dive since his first two USMNT matches — World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Jamaica — and he only has one assist from the following 10 outings in a U.S. shirt.

Still, Pepi is clearly one of Gregg Berhalter’s favorite options for the upcoming World Cup, and his performances will be measured against Union Berlin’s Jordan Pefok, FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira, and others.

In a tournament where every moment matters, his work for this scrappy finish will be well-noted by the USMNT staff.

Josef Martinez scores vicious overhead kick in Atlanta United loss (video)

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If this is the last goal of Josef Martinez’s (likely) final season with Atlanta United, it will be very appropriate.

So for Martinez, even in a losing effort, to go airborne for an overhead kick that is a simply sensational feat of athleticism and power, well, it just feels right.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan forward joined the Five Stripes in 2017 in what seemed a massive capture for the club at the time and now seems downright gargantuan, but he’s fallen out with current manager Gonzalo Pineda and was even suspended for a match last month.

[ MORE: West Ham beats Wolves | Klopp reacts to latest setback ]

Martinez has nine goals and four assists in an injury-abbreviated 25-game season, giving him 111 goals in 156 appearances for ATL UTD. The former Torino and Young Boys striker is still being capped for Venezuela and would leave with an MLS Cup, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and Campeones Cup as well as a boatload of individual honors.

Atlanta lost 2-1 to New England on Saturday and returns home for their season finale next weekend versus New York City FC. The Five Stripes won’t make the playoffs unless at least two teams decide not to field teams, so if the NYCFC game doesn’t go well, let’s pretend this one was his final appearance for the club.