Barcelona sporting director a big fan of how Southampton play

Ronald Koeman

Andoni Zubizarreta is a fan of Southampton under Ronald Koeman.

Southampton's start to the season has been simply astounding.

For many the South Coast club became relegation candidates when they allowed the likes of Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Luke Shaw to leave the club but they have in fact gone from strength to strength instead.

Not only did they lose several of their star players but their manager also left. Mauricio Pochettino joining Tottenham Hotspur as their new head coach. While they also lost chairman Nicola Cortese - it was a summer of upheaval.

But a good new influx of players and a shrewd managerial appointment in Ronald Koeman has seen The Saints go marching on - currently second in the Premier League table just behind early title favourites Chelsea.

Add to that a quarter-final place in the Capital One Cup and quite frankly Southampton have improved.

But it is not just in England where they are being noticed. No, the director of football at Barcelona is also a big fan.

Andoni Zubizarreta has been speaking to Spanish paper El Pais about all manner of things this week when he was asked what other teams he liked watching playing - specifically regarding their style of play.

When Southampton came up:

"I like how they play at Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach. I've seen a little at Southampton under Koeman and they go like a shot. And Marseille: such a hot hobby as a technician ... Bielsa is a sociological exercise. I also continue to Rayo and Roma catch my attention."

Of course their manager Koeman is a student of Ajax and Barcelona, the Johan Cruyff way, which is embedded in the Barca style - which will undoubtedly be a major factor in Zubi's fondness for Southampton.

Let's just hope that Barcelona don't do a Liverpool and raid St Marys next summer.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch