Tuesday 22 August 2017

Pellegrino aims to follow 'Southampton Way'

The 45-year-old, who took Alaves to the final of the Copa del Rey last season, is happy to work in the Southampton structure. Photo credit: Getty Images
The 45-year-old, who took Alaves to the final of the Copa del Rey last season, is happy to work in the Southampton structure. Photo credit: Getty Images

Sam Wallace

Southampton have appointed former Argentina international Mauricio Pellegrino on a three-year contract, having seen off competition from Crystal Palace and other clubs across Europe for a manager they believe fits their criteria perfectly.

The 45-year-old, who took Alaves to the final of the Copa del Rey last season, is happy to work in the Southampton structure, where the manager has parity with other key departments such as medical and recruitment.

Announcing the appointment, executive director Les Reed said that Pellegrino (right) believed that Southampton had the quality to play "exciting, attacking football, taking the game to our opponents by playing a high-intensity game".

Attractive football was something that Claude Puel was too often accused of neglecting during his season in charge.

Reed said of the interview process: "Mauricio impressed us with his depth of knowledge, motivation and ability, communicating this in a professional and passionate way.

"He has an excellent understanding of the 'Southampton Way', and his style of play and aspiration matches the philosophy, culture and ambition of the club."

Reed added that Pellegrino would continue the club tradition of developing academy players into the first team.

Pellegrino will be part of the discussion on whether the club agree to sell their sought-after Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk, who is fit again after a long injury lay-off.

Owner Katharina Liebherr and chairman Ralph Krueger have said that Van Dijk is not for sale. That may change depending on whether the club feel they have an adequate replacement.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, are close to appointing former Ajax and Inter Milan boss Frank De Boer.

Elsewhere, Antonio Conte is aiming to extend his rivalry with Jose Mourinho away from the football pitch as he looks to cash in on last season's Premier League title success with Chelsea.

As well as being offered a contract extension to become the highest-paid manager in Chelsea's history on £9.6m a year, Conte has agreed to work with booking agency MN2S.

The London-based company will be responsible for finding branding, endorsement and appearance work for Conte in an attempt to pocket the Italian millions in extra earnings.

But he faces a tough task to get close to Mourinho, who is the most endorsed manager in world football. The self-proclaimed Special One earns around £10m a year on top of his £12m Manchester United wages.

Mourinho's latest big sponsorship deal was a £4m agreement with Heineken, adding to his remarkable list of commercial deals with Hublot watches, Jaguar, BT Sport, Adidas, Atlantis hotels, Lipton Tea and EA Sports. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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