Southampton may have waved goodbye to a man whose Saint Mary’s stay proved him to be one Europe’s finest rising managers, but his replacement could be of a similar stature if the betting is to be believed and also looks an ideal fit for the role.
Murat Yakin, a former Switzerland international who cut his managerial teeth with Swiss titans FC Basel, has emerged as the 2/1 favourite in bwin’s next permanent Southampton manager betting, ahead of 3/1 shot Ronald Koeman and 6/1-rated former Swansea coach Michael Laudrup.
Burst the bubble wrap on a new bwin.com account day and receive a £30 free bet in return for sign up, a lump sum that would net a £60 profit if the Saints plump for the former Rossocrociati international.
Here’s why landing Yakin could be cause for south-coast celebration:
He’s a free agent – After two successful seasons in charge of the club whom he represented 114 times as a player it was announced that the 39-year-old was leaving this summer earlier in May.
He’s more experienced than Pochettino – It may have received little coverage, but Yakin was far from parachuted in at the top as one might expect of a feted former player.
Instead the former RotBlau hero first served his apprenticeship at Swiss lesser lights Concordia Basel, FC Thun and FC Luzern before his shot at the big time.
As such he comes with a greater sense of perspective than the Argentine, who had gained his sole pre-Saints taste of the dugout at Espanyol.
He’s overseen consecutive Swiss Superleague title wins – “Big whoop, FC Basel had won the title for three successive seasons before their most recent manager took the reins in October 2012!”
That maybe true, but they were eight points off leaders Grasshopper Zurich when Yakin got the nod, before overhauling them to lift the championship.
He’s juggled continental commitments successfully – A key skill for an upwardly mobile employer like Southampton, FC Basel’s outgoing coach has ensured continuous involvement in European competition hasn’t hampered their domestic aims over the past two campaigns.
Yakin is used to rebuilding sides whose best players are sold – The 49-cap Swiss international hasn’t let continued raids on his club’s roster impact upon their success, despite losing around €40m of talent across the last two summers in the shape of Swiss internationals Xherdan Shaquiri (FC Bayern) and Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach), Aleksandar Dragovic (Dinamo Kiev) and Mohamed Salah (Chelsea).
All but three of FC Basel’s most prolific league-appearance makers were under 26 last term – Just when it seemed that he couldn’t be any more tailor made for the St Mary’s hot seat, there’s Yakin’s nurturing of young talent to consider.
Valentin Stocker, Fabian Schar and Salah have all come to international attention under his watch.