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.

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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.

Report: Lampard interviews twice with Championship club

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Steven Gerrard‘s longtime England midfield mate Frank Lampard could soon be joining him in a management.

While Gerrard is tasked with rebuilding Rangers’ Scottish title push, Lampard’s reported new gig would entail leading Ipswich Town back to the Premier League for the first time since 2002.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Sky Sports says Lampard has already interviewed twice with Ipswich Town ownership in a bid to earn his first senior management gig.

Lampard, 39, played for Chelsea, Man City, New York City FC, West Ham United, and Swansea in a sparkling 20-year playing career.

Town finished 12th in the Championship, 15 points back of a playoff spot and 19 clear of relegation.

No World Cup for Chelsea’s Spanish trio

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Spain has left Chelsea trio Alvaro Morata, Marcos Alonso, and Pedro off its World Cup squad.

Also omitted were Napoli’s Jose Callejoin and Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.

[ MORE: MLS Things — The Archive ]

Manager Julen Lopetegui did include Blues defender Cesar Azpilicueta and ex-Chelsea man Diego Costa, as well as Manchester United’s David De Gea, Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal, and Man City’s David Silva.

Spain is expected to contend for the tournament crown in Russia, led by a stellar midfield which includes Silva, Andres Iniesta, Isco, and Thiago Alcantara.

Spain is in a group with Portugal, Iran, and Morocco.

Spain’s World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: De Gea, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Pepe Reina

Defenders: Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Azpilicueta, Nacho, Alvaro Odriozola, Jordi Alba, Monreal, Dani Carvajal

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Asensio, Iniesta, Isco, Saul Niguel, Thiago Alcantara, Koke, Silva.

Forwards: Diego Costa, Rodrigo, Iago Aspas, Lucas Vazquez.

MLS Three Things: RBNY beats Atlanta, is a special club right now

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At this point, Jesse Marsch could take the USMNT job, Tyler Adams could bolt for the Bundesliga, and we’d still have to select the New York Red Bulls to finish with a home playoff game.

[ MORE: Willian’s shot at Conte ]

That’s how well run RBNY is these days, which is to take nothing away from their coach and 19-year-old star, but considering they navigated a solid CONCACAF Champions League run en route to this start… well…. wow.

On a night when Luis Robles’ ironman streak ended, Kaku recorded two assists, and Ezequiel Barco bagged his second goal in three matches, they don’t even meet the requirements of our three things.

Form giants deliver more goals

Marsch’s men have been shutout once this season, and most multiple goals in four-consecutive wins. Three of those four wins have come on the road, at LA, Colorado, and now Atlanta.

RBNY has the best points-per-game in Major League Soccer, has scored the joint-most goals despite playing in the second-fewest games, and is allowing barely more than a goal-a-game.

Bet against ’em. We dare ya.

BWP delivers the goods

RBNY’s 33-year-old English star scored twice and won a penalty that Daniel Royer converted as he continued his assault on all future Red Bulls’ hopes of becoming the club’s leading scorer.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has almost 50 more goals than his nearest competitor, Juan Pablo Angel, and he makes headers look like child’s play.

Victory comes with a price

Kemar Lawrence was lost with a scary-looking face-plant on a clearance, and needed to be stretchered off the pitch. Hopefully it’s not long-term for the Jamaican back.

Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

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Willian is not a fan of Antonio Conte.

Come to another conclusion if you like, but it’s hard to argue the Brazilian wizard’s feelings following his Instagram post after Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Matic wants squad changes at Man Utd ]

Willian covered his manager in trophies following the win, and it’d be a stretch to call that a tribute to the Italian’s tactical brilliance.

The player recorded seven goals and six assists despite playing less than all but 12 Chelsea players in league play (12th place Alvaro Morata had 11 and 6).

We’re accepting alternative explanations for the since-deleted Instagram photo below: