Written by By Maria Golovnina, CNN
For almost two seasons, Ronald Koeman’s coaching career at Southampton has already been overshadowed by the greatest of all time — but that is not expected to change anytime soon.
The Dutchman, who has led Southampton to the second-highest total of points in their Premier League history, on Tuesday became the latest of several coaches to leave a club.
Why the axe fell on Ronald Koeman?
“They (Southampton) brought in somebody in January with a different philosophy and different ideas,” said Balague, who covers English football for Sky Sports.
“They tried something else and that’s why they’ve decided to let Ronald go. They wanted to try something else.”
By August 2017, Koeman’s tenure at Southampton was cut short following what was called a “failed” negotiations to sign defender Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutchman, who also had spells at Barcelona and Everton, picked up two Premier League titles in his three-year spell with Southampton and will be remembered for successfully integrating some young, exciting players such as Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse into the side.
“Southampton has got some exciting talent. Next season they need to be strong in the transfer market,” added Balague.
“They haven’t proved that they can invest well and (Koeman) hasn’t made a big impact on building their new grounds. Most of the time the image they have is of being going nowhere.”
Sacking Koeman just a matter of time
Though he has been linked with several possible destinations, Balague believes Koeman will not be missed by Southampton, not least because of the struggles faced by Spanish giants Real Madrid under Julen Lopetegui in recent years.
“He was coming into a job when Julen Lopetegui came in at Real Madrid but when that work did not work out, he was forgotten very quickly,” said Balague.
“Ronald Koeman will always be remembered by his success at Southampton because they’re a small club.”
His team are four points clear of the relegation zone, but having played a game more than all of their relegation rivals, say Balague.
“Southampton fans were unhappy with Ronald Koeman. They will not want to bring him back as their manager,” added Balague.
Should Southampton fail to win a match against Stoke City on Saturday, Balague has predicted that the club will then sack Koeman.
“It doesn’t take long for him to be sacked by Southampton and there won’t be anyone to take his place,” he added.