Earlier today it was announced that Nicola Cortesi resigned as executive chairman at Southampton F.C. With it comes the question of whether Mauricio Pochettino, the manager that Cortesi brought in, will follow him and how all of this will affect the club.
Could Cortesi’s resignation spell disaster at Southampton? Short answer: yes. He has been the man most responsible for the rejuvenation of the club and bringing them up into the Premier League from League One near bankruptcy and obscurity. It is because of him that Pochettino was brought in and changed the mindset of the club to the point that they were once as high as third in the standings. It is also because of him that Southampton has built such a fantastic squad of young players.
Without Cortesi running the club I fear for their future. Pochettino has already previously stated that he didn’t think he could stay at the club should Cortesi ever leave. Now comes that horrible time of waiting to see if he will follow through with this or remain at the club to build on what they have worked so hard to accomplish.
I will not be surprised by any decision he makes. He could very likely stay and try to ride out the storm with his players while seeing just how far he can take them. Or, he could do as he has said and leave the club, despite Cortesi already asking him to stay.
My concern for the club is with the owners decisions and what will happen with the players. There is already talk of the owner, Katharina Liebherr, attempting to sell the club, which is never a settling time for anyone involved. The other talk is of a player exodus with Rickie Lambert already being linked with West Ham United.
Along with Lambert, Southampton is full of young, up and coming players such as Luke Shaw, Morgan Schneiderlin, Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, and Callum Chambers. All of these players would bring in massive fees, but completely devastate a squad that has been constructed to begin a challenge on making it into European competition.
Instead of challenging in the middle and top of the table we could be looking at a Southampton team headed for relegation within the next two years. This is certainly not something that I want to see. It has been refreshing to see a team like Southampton making such a splash in the Premier League this season and I have enjoyed watching them play. If they are allowed to develop and mature together this is a team that could begin to challenge the status quo.
They will only be able to do so if they can get the backing and stability of the Southampton management and owner, which is looking less likely at the moment. I do hope that all of this is just something that will blow over and be a knee jerk reaction, but I do fear it is much more than that.
What do you think? Will Southampton become relegation fodder in the near future? Will they lose all of their young talent to bigger clubs? Will Cortesi’s exit spell the end or become a catalyst for greater things?