Ralph Krueger has revealed that the process of finding a new First Team Manager is already moving quickly, as Saints look to identify Mauricio Pochettino’s successor.
Krueger says the support structure in place behind the scenes at the club both locally and abroad, is busy gathering information and relaying profiles to help the board make an informed decision on the man who will step into the St Mary’s dug-out as Pochettino’s replacement.
No timeframe has been disclosed on naming a new manager, but the Saints chairman stressed that there’s no shortage of interested parties who are determined to build on the club’s current impressive standing as he also refuted talk of scaling back ambition, and reiterated the target of European football at St Mary’s.
“We have the highest quality managers in Europe knocking on our door,” Krueger stated.
“We also have the highest quality available players and their agents knocking on our door. There’s a lot of exciting people that want to come here.
“Right now, the focus is on people leaving, but that’s normal news broadcast. Behind the scenes there are many people interested in what we’re doing here. I believe the fact there’s so much interest in our manager and our players is also a sign that we’re doing the right things here in Southampton.
“Les Reed (Saints’ football director) is inundated right now with managers who are interested in taking this club forward and I believe we’re in the strongest position that this club has ever been in.
“We have 20 people working full-time on scouting and recruitment. We have seven people all over Europe, seven domestic and four to six in the office. These people are not playing cards, they are out there collecting data, statistics, profiles etc. and not just on players.
“This same group was involved with finding Mauricio Pochettino, and they were involved out there searching and recruiting profiles which they continue to do because that’s their job. A club does not invest in 20 recruitment people if it doesn’t want to improve or have ambitions to play European football, so we have all of these people employed which is a clear example of what we’re trying to do.”
Krueger added that the wheels are firmly in motion to ensure a smooth process for the arrival of a new manager, but understands the need to make a decision sooner than later.
“It’s really important that we move swiftly on this,” he said. “We’ve lost some time now since the season ended 16 days ago and I think it’s in all of our wishes not to rush the situation but to have a certain speed to it so that we can move.
“The preparation that’s been done by our scouts and recruiters make us feel we can move quite quickly to the next step to then present a shortlist of managers that we are considering, and then we can then move forward on the players, because we want the manager to make some decisions and be involved with who comes and goes, and they need to be able to continue to push the Saints forward.
“This process needs to just run naturally and we will allow that,” Krueger added. “There are times when in the interests of the club we can’t give information, and we just went through one of those time periods. It was difficult for me to keep my mouth shut but it was in the best interests of the club so I did and I believe it’s within the best interests that we just all have patience and trust in what we have here.
“I’m off to watch four of our Academy players at Under-19 level represent the nation against Ukraine tomorrow, and those are things that should excite us moving forward. What we also know is that we will have a competitive team ready to play on the 16th August.”