Is Mark Hughes the man to save Southampton?
The struggling South Coast club seem to think so. As reported by The Telegraph, the 54-year-old has been installed as the favourite to take over at St Mary’s with just eight games remaining this season after the belated sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino.
Yes, Hughes has the Premier League experience the Southampton board are supposedly looking for after the divisive reigns of Pellegrino and Claude Puel. Yes, he once took Blackburn Rovers to sixth, started the Manchester City revolution and guided Stoke City to three successive top half finishes.
He also knows the club well, having played 61 games for Southampton between 1998 and 2000.
But you can understand why some supporters would be very underwhelmed by his appointment with The Saints, who have been a model club in the Premier League over the last few years, sitting just one point above the drop zone.
After all, Hughes was sacked by Stoke City just two months ago after a steady decline became an alarming dip that the former Wales boss proved unable to halt.
Hughes would be arriving on the South Coast with his managerial reputation perhaps at an all-time low, and while he has the character and the fight for a relegation battle and could give a lifeless squad the proverbial kick up the backside, surely there is more inspiring options available.
Understand why #saintsfc are underwhelmed by the prospect of Hughes but he is the strong character needed to reunite a divided dressing room. Despite his dour reputation worth remembering he did try and make #StokeCity more adventurous with signings like Shaqiri and Bojan.— Alex Crook (@alex_crook) March 13, 2018
Hughes couldn’t organise an extended drinking session in a beer factory.— Jamesy (@jamesy1962) March 13, 2018
Get Hughes and Southampton are as good as relegated. The last 18mnths under Hughes was shocking at Stoke. Sold rock solid players, Walters, Whelan, didn't replace them properly, loaned out Bojan and brought in the worst Striker in the premier league.— James Boyce (@Jboyce666) March 13, 2018
If they bring Hughes in, I think we start the protests to get the board out.— Biggun (@TotalSnore) March 13, 2018
As I have said - ANYONE other than HUGHES!— Dave (@davsExt) March 13, 2018
Oh Lord I hope it isn’t Hughes!— Peter Kemp (@ageofkempires) March 13, 2018
Doesn’t promote youth, plays players out of position, won’t move from North West, Stoke fans see Lambert as an upgrade, always someone else’s fault post match.......rather Johnson at Bristol City or Hurst at Shrewsbury.— Adrian Sharpe (@CorkyMorris) March 13, 2018
Mark Hughes being the favourite for the #saintsfc job is worrying me. Personally I'd go for Gordon Strachan until the end of the season. Premier League experience, knows the club, will make the team hard to beat and will have the fans on board straight away. #SaintsFC #Strachan— Rob Gillman (@robgillman) March 13, 2018