Southampton have confirmed the appointment of Nathan Jones as their new manager – with the Welshman quitting Luton to sign a three-a-half-year deal at St Mary’s and quickly revealing his family’s love affair with the club.
Saints parted ways with Ralph Hasenhuttl on Monday, following Sunday’s dismal 4-1 defeat at home to Newcastle. The result leaves the south-coast club 18th in the Premier League table with just three wins to their name this season.
We revealed the six names under consideration on the south coast on Monday, though it was very clear that Jones was their No 1 target.
He has performed an admirable job during his two spells at Luton. Indeed, despite a lack of financial resources at Kenilworth Road, Jones steered the Hatters into the Championship play-offs last season.
And while they were beaten at the first hurdle, he has them on course for a repeat. Luton are currently ninth in gthe table and just two points adrift of the top six.
However, Luton’s adventure will carry on without Jones. Our exclusive reveals Luton currently have their eyes firmly fixed on his successor already in the shape of Gary O’Neil.
Jones now moves to St Mary’s and was in the stands to watch their Carabao Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday night. The teams played out a 1-1 draw with the Premier League side prevailing on penalties.
Saints are paying Luton £2.5m in compensation – the most they have ever received for a departing manager.
Now Jones admits he cannot wait to get started, saying he comes from a family of Southampton fans.
Nathan Jones is a Southampton fan and now new manager
“I’m really proud to be given this opportunity,” Jones said. “I know a lot about the club from back in the days of The Dell, to coming here to St Mary’s, and it’s a wonderful football club.”
Speaking on the club’s official website, he revealed his dream to manage in the Premier League.
“A lot of my family are Southampton fans, which doesn’t half help, and I feel really, really proud to be given the opportunity.
“I’m really looking forward to getting started. Obviously, I wanted to manage in the Premier League. I’ve dreamt of that since I’ve become a coach or a manager. But this club in particular – because of how it’s run, because of the structure, because of how they look deeper than just results. It really appeals to me.”
Jones will be in charge for Saturday’s trip to face Liverpool at Anfield.
However, the Welshman will use the break for the World Cup to focus on his new team’s strengths and weaknesses. The main and only aim will be to ensure Southampton’s survival.
One perceived weakness in the side comes in the full-back positions. As a result, Jones is reportedly already targeting a move for Parma left-back Jayden Oosterwolde.
The 21-year-old started his career with FC Twente but moved to the Serie B side in January. He’s made a big impression there and Forza Parma reports the Dutchman is wanted by Jones as his first signing on the south coast.
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