Steve Bruce is on Southampton’s six-man shortlist to take over as their manager after indicating he is willing to sever his ties with Hull City to fill the void left by Mauricio Pochettino taking the Tottenham Hotspur job.
Southampton, who have also spoken to Ronald Koeman, want to make an appointment by the end of week and Bruce has emerged as the English option because of Hull’s considerable improvement under his management.
After winning promotion from the Championship, Hull defied their odds as the overwhelming favourites to be relegated last season, as well as reaching the FA Cup final. Bruce regards Southampton as an upgrade, even at a time when the club is being threatened by an exodus of their best players. However, it is understood he is not the front-runner for the job, with Koeman meeting Southampton officials during the week.
Koeman left Feyenoord last month and the 51-year-old appeals to Southampton because of his philosophy of bringing through young players and adopting an attacking playing style. Koeman has won Dutch titles with Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, as well as the Copa del Rey at Valencia, and has also had spells at Benfica and AZ.
Koeman wants to work in the Premier League but would also want reassurances over their transfer plans at a time when the team that finished eighth last season is in danger of being dismantled. Rickie Lambert has joined Liverpool and could soon be followed by Adam Lallana, the subject of a £15m offer, with £10m in potential add-ons. Manchester United are still confident of signing Luke Shaw for around £30m and Dejan Lovren is also interesting interest from Liverpool.
Roy Hodgson was asked about Southampton’s situation during a question-and-answer session with England supporters during the team’s training camp in Miami. “If Liverpool are signing all these Southampton players, I have to presume they are signing them to play, not stockpile,” he said.
“I’m afraid Southampton have become a victim of their success. I feel sorry for teams when this happens, when the team gets broken up, but it is a fact of life that bigger clubs have more financial power. Life isn’t fair. The good news is Southampton will be very rich. The bad news is that you might have more [Dani] Osvaldos.”