12 February 2023

Steven Gerrard, Jesse Marsch and Nuno Espirito Santo in Southampton contention

12 February 2023

Southampton have launched the search for a new manager after bringing an end to Nathan Jones’ ill-fated three-month reign.

With Premier League rivals Leeds also looking for a replacement for Jesse Marsch, they may face competition to land their preferred candidate.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look as some of those who may come into contention.

Jesse Marsch

Sacked by Leeds last week, Marsch was linked with the Southampton job during the latter days of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s spell in charge. The 49-year-old American faced a difficult task in trying to replicating the success of cult hero Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road, but retains admirers for the work he did at New York Red Bulls, RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig.

Ruben Selles

Appointed caretaker boss in the wake of Jones’ departure, 39-year-old lead first-team coach Selles provides a link to the Hasenhuttl era having served under the Austrian. The Spaniard, who took his UEFA Pro Licence at the age of 25, has worked in Greece, Russia, Azerbaijan, Norway and Denmark and will prepare the team for Saturday’s daunting trip to big-spending Chelsea.

Steven Gerrard

Out of work since he was sacked by Aston Villa in October last year, 42-year-old former Liverpool and England midfielder Gerrard enjoyed a promising start to his managerial career as he led Rangers to a first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years in 2021. He was relieved of his duties at Villa Park with the club hovering anxiously just above the bottom three and was recently linked with the Poland job.

Nuno Espirito Santo

Currently plying his trade in Saudi Arabia with Al-Ittihad, Espirito Santo, 49, knows the Premier League well after his spells at Wolves and Tottenham. He led the Molineux club back into the top flight as Football League champions and secured back-to-back seventh-place finishes before a testing five months at the helm in North London was ended prematurely.

Rafael Benitez

One of the most experienced managers in the business, 62-year-old Benitez has been biding his time since his ignominious departure from Everton in January last year. Always a controversial appointment by the Goodison hierarchy given his Liverpool background, the hugely-successful Spaniard endured a torrid six months on the blue half of Merseyside, but is still revered by fans of the Toffees’ arch-rivals, and by Newcastle supporters after he dragged the Magpies back into the top flight.

Frank Lampard

Much-decorated former Chelsea and England midfielder Lampard has never been afraid of taking on a challenge having cut his teeth in management at Derby and Stamford Bridge before accepting Everton’s offer of employment. The 44-year-old steered the Toffees to top-flight safety at the end of last season after taking up the reins vacated by Benitez, but left Goodison Park last month with the club sitting in 19th place in the table.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox