Saints’ new board could be faced with the prospect of appointing their first manager later this week as Tottenham appear to be inching closer to sealing a deal to poach Mauricio Pochettino.
It is understood that talks with Spurs are continuing but that the Londoners have come to the conclusion that Pochettino is the right man to take over from Tim Sherwood, who was sacked two days after the end of last season.
Saints have been hoping that Pochettino would sign a new contract to tie him to Saints beyond the one year he has remaining on his current deal.
They have tabled a new offer but Pochettino has stalled on signing it. That has led some at St Mary’s to consider that he has been waiting to see if he received any better offers before committing himself.
It now seems as though he will get an offer from Tottenham very soon.
Pochettino is understood to have a clause in his contract that would allow him to move so, as long as the remainder of the deal is paid up in full as compensation to Saints.
He is believed to be on £2m a year, so Saints would be expecting that from Tottenham, along with smaller compensation packages for his staff, Jesus Perez, Toni Jimenez and Miguel D’Agostino who would be expected to follow him to White Hart Lane.
If Pochettino does leave it will be a hammer blow to the new Saints board.
They have been desperate to keep him at St Mary’s following his hugely successful year and half in charge of the club and with a group of players who feel very loyal to him.
Saints are well aware that Pochettino’s departure is likely to have a domino effect and that they could be battling to fight off a string of big name departures from St Mary’s this summer.
With that in mind they will need to act quickly and decisively to appoint an impressive new manager to try and hold things together. Luke Shaw has already been the subject of a £25m bid from Manchester United while Liverpool have offered in the region of £20m for Adam Lallana.
Saints have been trying to put off dealing directly with the offers until Pochettino’s situation has been sorted out.
They certainly did not want to sell players from under him and risk upsetting him at such a sensitive time.
However, there is a growing feeling at St Mary’s that if the manager leaves then star player departures are inevitable this summer.
The new board, headed by Ralph Krueger and Gareth Rogers with Les Reed taking care of football matters, face a real test of their strength and credibility.
There has been a sense of frustration at the wall of silence coming out of St Mary’s since the end of the season, in spite of promises of open communication.
On top of that, if Pochettino were to leave, there would be a sense that the board have been played to a certain degree as they publically went along with Pochettino’s desire not to talk about his future until the summer only for him to then leave.
Much of the talk over the last few weeks within the Saints squad and management has been about whether the club’s ambition matches their own and with many star players having also having privately pinned their futures to his, they face a real battle if Tottenham do seal up a deal to bag Pochettino.