Ralph Hasenhuttl has been confirmed as the new manager of Premier League strugglers Southampton on a two-and-a-half year deal.
The former RB Leipzig boss will officially take charge on Thursday but will watch Wednesday night’s game at Tottenham from the stands at Wembley after flying into London to meet the team at their pre-match hotel.
Sky Sports News exclusively revealed this week Hasenhuttl had agreed to succeed Mark Hughes, having been convinced of the clubs plans in talks with chairman Ralph Krueger and director of football operations Ross Wilson.
The Austrian has signed a deal until the summer of 2021 and wants to bring with him his Leipzig assistant – the 29-year-old Danny Rohl – to join the existing first-team staff of assistant coach Kelvin Davis, head of goalkeeping Dave Watson and head of sports science Alek Gross.
Krueger is convinced Hasenhuttl is the man to restore Southampton as an exciting team that develops young players and pushes for places higher up the Premier League table.
As soon as we met, Ralph’s enthusiasm for football was contagious and his hunger to take on a new and challenging job in the Premier League was evident, Krueger said.
As a coach, he embodies the passion, structure, communication skill set, work ethic and appetite for growth that we strive for in our Southampton way. The quick, smooth and seamless negotiation process underlines the character of the person that he is.
In our discussions, he very quickly aligned himself with the values and the vision of the club. Southampton’s past success was built on a clear identity. The foundation of this identity was a focus on developing players, whether from within our academy or after joining from other clubs.
Ralph’s ability to teach the game and to develop talent is evident in his past and is a centrepiece of why he is the perfect choice to be the new Saints manager.
Hassenhuttl was successful at German club Ingolstadt before taking the helm at Leipzig and guiding them to a second-placed finish and first ever Champions League campaign in his first season.
The 51-year-old then took Leipzig to a Europa League quarter-final the following season and a sixth-placed finish in the Bundesliga – but he could not agree on a new contract and left the club in the summer.
Southampton made a bold and ambitious move to fire Hughes after a 2-2 draw at home to Manchester United, with the relegation zone, and move for Hasenhuttl, whose first game will be at fellow strugglers Cardiff on Saturday.