Premier League Southampton have today sacked manager Nigel Adkins only two days after earning a draw at Chelsea.
In his place they have been quick to name former Espanyol boss Mauricio Pochettino as his successor.
Adkins joined the Saints from Scunthorpe United in 2010 and guided the south coast club to two successive promotion campaigns and a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2005.
Southampton, who find themselves hovering just above the relegation zone, came back from two goals down to win a valuable point at the home of the current European Champions on Wednesday evening and are preparing to face Everton at St. Mary’s Stadium on Monday night.
The former goalkeeper has been the focus of speculation all season and the fact he has been sacked will come as no shock. What is a surprise is the timing, given Southampton’s recent form which includes victories at fellow strugglers Aston villa and QPR.
New man Pochettino, who himself was sacked by Espanyol in November, joins the Saints at a time when they are scouring the transfer market for players to boost their hopes of avoiding the drop.
In January 2013, the Football Association launched its celebrations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the organisation’s birth back in 1863.
When a group of representatives from public schools and local football clubs met in the Freemason’s Tavern, London to thrash out a universally acceptable set of laws for the blossoming game, the Football Association was born, and the game in England would have its much needed governing body.
Back in the mid-19th century, as participation in the game as an organised leisure activity flourished, variations in the rules were widespread as the game had developed town-by-town, village-by-village and school-by-school, and was often little more than a bruising free-for-all.
Once the game came under the umbrella of the new Football Association, innovation and creation thrived as clubs began springing up all over the country, eager to join in with the burgeoning sport. Competitions such as the F.A. Cup, inaugurated in 1871, only increased the Victorians’ thirst for the game.
Former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has finally come out and spoken about his desire to manage a club in the English Premier League.
The possibility of seeing the Spaniard take up a new position for the 2013-14 season opens the exciting prospect of renewing his fierce rivalry with current Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, who recently expressed his wish to return to England where he enjoyed three successful years as boss at Chelsea.
Guardiola, who put together what many people consider to be the greatest club team ever seen, walked away from the Catalan giants in the summer of 2012 after four years and fourteen major honours. He is currently enjoying a one year sabbatical from management with his family in New York while weighing up his options.
While names such as Bayern Munich and AC Milan have been mentioned as possible destinations for the 41-year-old, a high profile assignment in the Premier League has always been the most likely outcome.
Real Madrid midfielder, Luka Modric, who for two years lobbied for his dream move to one of European football’s elite clubs, finds himself contemplating his next move as his underwhelming stint at the Bernabeu looks likely to come to a premature conclusion.
The diminutive Croatian playmaker came to prominence when being named Player of the Year in his home country while with Dinamo Zagreb in 2007. This persuaded several of the continent’s top clubs to pursue his signature, including Tottenham Hotspur, who were so impressed with Modric they laid out the princely sum of £16.5 million for the then 22-year-old.
In the initial stages of his career in London, Modric’s lack of stature and niggling injury combined with management upheaval at White Hart Lane meant he was considered too lightweight to cope with the physicality of the Premier League.
Undeterred by these early setbacks, Modric, with the help of then-Spurs boss, Harry Redknapp, began to blossom into the lynchpin attacking player they had hoped when shelling out the large transfer fee to Dinamo.
Schalke 04 midfielder, Lewis Holtby, whose future was seemingly destined for North London with English club Tottenham Hotspur, has thrown doubt about his next move by admitting his dream would be to play for the club both he and his father support, Everton.
London based newspaper, The Sunday Express, today reported Holtby as saying,
“I used to sit with my dad in front of the TV and long to play in England. My father has been an Everton fan since he was five and he infected me with the Everton virus! Since then I have been an Everton fan. It would be realising a dream for me to play in the Premier League one day.”
This admission represents a huge twist in this transfer saga, as Tottenham believed they would get their man in the summer on a free transfer after the German international had signed a pre-contract agreement only last week.
It is also believed that Holtby’s club, Schalke, are willing to let him leave Gelsenkirchen during this transfer window so they can recover some sort of fee for a player who is likely to command plenty of interest from clubs both in the Bundesliga and the Premier League.