Southampton have named Mauricio Pellegrino as their new manager on a three-year contract. The move comes after Claude Puel was sacked by Saints earlier this month.
45-year-old Pellegrino moves to Southampton a month after leaving La Liga club Alaves, who he steered to a Spanish Cup final appearance against Barcelona and a ninth-place finish in the league.
The Argentine’s managerial resumé also includes stints at Valencia, along with Independiente and Estudiantes in his home country.
This won’t be Pellegrino’s first taste of the Premier League, however, with the former Argentina international making 13 appearances for Liverpool in an unsuccessful stint in 2005. Indeed, he also worked under Rafa Benitez at Anfield as a first-team coach.
The centre-back also lined out for Vélez Sarsfield, Barcelona, Valencia and Alaves in a 16-year playing career.
On signing on the dotted line with Saints, Pellegrino said:
I am really happy to become the new coach of Southampton Football Club. The club has a great reputation for having a strong and stable structure, competing in the Premier League and playing attractive football.
I think my philosophy and the culture of the club will work well together.
Southampton Vice-Chairman, Les Reed, said:
I am delighted that after a diligent selection process we have recruited Mauricio Pellegrino as our new First Team Manager.
We firmly believe Mauricio is the right person to help us take the next steps. He knows our players and believes we have a great squad that with some fine-tuning will be able to deliver continued success.
Mauricio believes with the quality we have we can play exciting, attacking football, taking the game to our opponents by playing a high-intensity game.
Pellegrino’s predecessor Puel got the chop despite leading Saints to an eighth-place finish and a spot in the League Cup final, where they lost 3-2 to Manchester United.
Therefore, there’ll be immense pressure on the new manager to improve on that decent showing last season, which seems like a rather tall order.
Expect Paul Merson to get the new Saints boss mixed up with Mauricio Pochettino and Manuel Pellegrini throughout next season.