Executive Director Les Reed was pleased to land the club’s preferred choice of Ronald Koeman for the role of First Team Manager.
Reed spearheaded the search for Saints’ new boss, and shared the reasons why it was an appointment that will continue the fine work that the club has produced in recent years.
“He’s used to working with young players and putting young players into the first team,” Reed said of Koeman to Sky Sports News.
“He’s a proven coach in terms of developing players and improving them which was what we’re looking for. He’s also been very successful in his career both as a player and as a coach so it fits our need for someone to take the club to the next level and someone with that kind of experience.”
Koeman has managed in the top divisions of Portugal, Holland and Spain, but has no previous playing or coaching experience in England. That, says Reed however, won’t be an issue.
“I think he’ll adapt very easily,” Reed stated. “His thoughts on the game and the way he plays, and the fact that everyone knows about the Premier League these days, he’s studied the league for a long time he understands it. Yes, there’ll be a few things that he needs to adjust to, but it’s about the quality and the profile of the man, be it in Holland or around the world he’s been in other countries and he’s adapted, so why not here?
“His brother Erwin has joined us as assistant manager and I think that brings with him an extra strength the brothers want to succeed together so that will bring a bit of extra drive to it. Jan Kluitenberg is also in and he knows them well from working at other clubs. The experience is there. We’ll be adding a goalkeeping coach in due course that will work with the first team staff that are here and have been here for some time.”
One of the topics of discussion is the subject of player trading, but Reed says that Koeman won’t have to do any major work on bringing harmony amongst the squad.
“I don’t think he’s going to have to do much at all in terms of stabilising,” Reed highlighted. “To be fair, I think Katharina Liebherr did that when she came in.
“As I’ve mentioned in the past, we’ve got a very strong structure with over 75 people working on the football side of the club, and only two or three have left so that’s the strength of the club. With the staff that are here and the structure in place – Ronald buys into the support structure that we have in the sport science department, the medical, scouting and recruitment departments that are all running, and he just slots into that.
“I think there’ll be very little to do in terms of stabilising it’s now an exciting period of moving forward into pre-season and getting a new era underway.
“It’s fairly logical that we wouldn’t make any moves on players in or out without a new manager contributing to that and having his seal of approval to work with the players so that’s for Ronald, myself and a few of our staff in the recruitment department as well as Ronald’s staff, to sit down and assess the squad in terms of how he sees it going forward and what we will do is make changes which are relevant to the future of the club. If it’s the right thing to do for the club then we’ll do it, and as I’ve said before, if players do leave and we raise significant funds, then all of that will be reinvested back into the squad.
“You’ve got to give the manager a chance,” Reed added. “He knows the players well and we need to sit down and discuss things before doing what’s right going forward.”