Given that he took them to a cup final this year, it might seem strange to outsiders that Southampton are apparently looking to change coaches in the summer. Given the job that ex-Lyon coach Puel has done at clubs like Nice, though, it would seem quite hard to push him out the door after just one season that seen a League Cup final loss. However, the main problem is that Saints are so well-run that it must be hard for fans to doubt the wisdom of a board who have delivered time and time again.
A season review waits at the end of the month for Puel, who apparently is looking over his shoulder at a fellow Premier League manager. Reports are flying around that Marco Silva of Hull City – even if he takes them down – could be the replacement for Puel at Southampton. Young and exciting with a penchant for playing intense attacking football, it’s understood that Silva is a more natural fit for the squad and the club personality than the more conservative Puel.
With a campaign that has had highs such as the Cup final, though, lows are also being noticed. Sitting in relative comfort in the table, the main problem for Puel is that progression is expected season in, season out on the south coast. A relatively stable season has not seen enough progression, apparently, to warrant sticking around.
Therefore, it’s likely that Puel will move on in the summer even if the young and exciting Silva cannot be captured. The relationship amongst Saints fans and Puel has not been at its best, and there’s rumour that neither party is especially happy with the way that 2016-2017 has played out when take in full context.
A talented coach who done a great job at other clubs in the past, it would appear that Puel is not the natural fit for Saints that many thought he would be. An inability to excite as well as a rather dour personality, at least in perception, has made it hard for Puel to get the right kind of gravitas and time from the supporters.
This has hampered their chance of taking that all-important step forward this season. As such, it appears that the end is arriving for a coach who can easily find work back in France. For Southampton, though, the next chance is going to be very interesting.