Monday, September 26, 2022

Southampton Closing In On Former Stoke City Manager Mark Hughes: Right Man To Lead The Saints?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

Southampton are in talks with former Stoke City boss Mark Hughes over becoming their next manager at the St. Mary’s Stadium. According to recent reports, the Saints are currently in negotiations with the Manchester United legend over the possibility of him taking charge of the South-coast club on a permanent basis. 

The Premier League club sacked Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday after the Argentine boss could only lead them to one victory in their last 17 league matches this season. The Saints are currently just a point above the relegation zone in 17th place going into the final eight matches of the season. Hughes was sacked by Stoke City in January after four and a half years at the club as the Potters fell into the relegation zone.

The 54-year-old Welsh manager has taken charge of 445 Premier League matches during his time at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City. He has previously played for Southampton for two years between 1998 to 2000. Only time will tell whether he will be the right fit at the South-coast club as they battle for their top-flight lives going into the final stretch of the season.

Southampton are currently struggling in the Premier League and find themselves in 17th place with just 8 league games remaining in this campaign. The Saints are in dire need of some favourable results in the coming weeks following their 3-0 loss away to Newcastle United at the St. James Park on Saturday. It seems highly likely that they will be dragged into a relegation dogfight going into the final stretch of the season. 

The potential appointment of Mark Hughes could turn out to be a shrewd move for the Saints as he has a wealth of experience in the top tier of English football both as a player and as a manager. His experience and knowledge could be a key asset which might help them avoid relegation this season. In his last stint, Hughes took charge of 200 matches for the Potters, winning 73, drawing 46 and losing 81 of those matches with a PPG (Points Per Game) average of 1.33.

If he can make an immediate impact at the St. Mary’s Stadium, then he will be well worth hiring as the Saints look to retain their Premier League lives for another season. The managerless Southampton team are currently preparing for their FA Cup quarter-final clash versus Wigan Athletic on Sunday. It remains to be seen what lies ahead in the future of Hughes and whether he ends up making a switch to Southampton in the near future.

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