Ronald Koeman hired as Southampton manager
Southampton hired Ronald Koeman as its new manager on Monday, hoping the former Netherlands defender can build on the south coast club’s success in the Premier League last season.
The 51-year-old Koeman signed a three-year deal with the Saints. His brother, Erwin, has also joined Southampton as assistant first-team manager, while Jan Kluitberg will serve assistant first-team coach/physical coach.
“I am thrilled to be the manager of Southampton football club,” Koeman said. “Southampton have a talented first-team squad, a world-class academy and the infrastructure to sustain success in the Premier League.”
Koeman arrives following a three-year spell at Feyenoord, which he led to consecutive top-three finishes in the Dutch league. He replaces Mauricio Pochettino, who left to join Premier League rival Tottenham.
Koeman has coached across Europe, winning the Dutch league twice with Ajax and domestic cups with Benfica in Portugal and Valencia in Spain.
Les Reed, executive director of Southampton, said the club was delighted to attain the services of Koeman’s “caliber and status within the game.”
“From the moment we met with Ronald, it was clear he had the vision and ambition to take the club forward,” Reed said. “The club, players and fans will all be excited to have a man of Ronald’s experience at the very highest level joining our club.”
A priority for Koeman will be retaining key members of the playing squad. England striker Rickie Lambert recently left to join Liverpool, and international teammate Adam Lallana is reportedly also a Liverpool target. Croatia defender Dejan Lovren is also reportedly seeking a move away.
But Koeman is confident he will be able to continue Southampton’s success from the 2013-14 Premier League season, where the Saints equaled their highest ever finish of eighth place with a club record total of 56 points.
“The opportunity to continue the development of this famous football club was simply too good to turn down. I cannot wait to get started,” he said.
As a player, Koeman won the European Cup with PSV Eindhoven in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992. He scored the winning goal from a free kick as Barcelona beat Sampdoria 1-0 at Wembley. Koeman made 82 appearances for the Dutch national side.