Southampton New Manager: 6 Candidates To Replace Mauricio Pochettino
2. Murat Yakin
Murat Yakin, a big centre back in Switzerland's Euro 2004 squad, has been installed as the early favourite for Pochettino's vacated seat after another successful season in charge of hometown club Basel. A solidly good player, Yakin enjoyed the best years of his playing career as captain of Basel in the early 2000s. After retiring as a player, he gradually worked his way up through the ranks as a manager from the Swiss lower leagues. In 2012 he took unfancied FC Luzern to second place in the Swiss Super League and a narrow defeat on penalties to Basel in the Swiss Cup final, which saw him given the top job at his former club. In just two years at Basel, Yakin established himself as one of the most highly regarded coaches in Europe, not only by winning back to back league titles, but also through the quality of the team's progress in European competition, especially against English clubs. On course to the 2013 Europa League semi-final against Chelsea, Yakin masterminded victories against a number of clubs with far greater resources, including Zenit St. Petersburg and Tottenham. Last year's home and away wins against Chelsea in the Champions League, not to mention beating Ajax en route to the Europa League quarter-final, proved 2013 was no fluke and drew the admiration of Jose Mourinho. In May Yakin left Basel, clearly feeling that he had accomplished everything he could there and ambitious enough to want to achieve the same in a big league. Having already masterminded the defeat of Spurs and Chelsea, it seems likely that Yakin would enjoy the opportunity to do the same on a weekly basis in the Premier League with Saints. Like Howe, however, Yakin has enjoyed the vast amount of his success with his hometown club, a team that he understands instinctually. As a player, leaving Switzerland for brief spells in Germany and Turkey did not work out so well. It is possible Yakin the manager may equally struggle far from home.