Opinion: The best is yet to come from Mark Hughes

Opinion: The best is yet to come from Mark Hughes

The Saints camp are in uplifting spirits as the club continue to prepare for the forthcoming campaign.

ryan-white
Ryan White

A manager not famously renowned for his exciting brand of football, but Mark Hughes' record speaks volume and explains as to why he was appointed the permanent successor to the relatively described failure that was Mauricio Pellegrino

Having previous led the helm at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and most recently Stoke, the man's credentials can only be bettered by a selected handful of bosses around the country. 

Despite not picking up any silverware at his previous employers, Hughes was not brought into Southampton to set the world alight - make world class acquisitions or challenge for a Champions League place - the 54 year-old's priority is to restore faith and belief in this Saints first-team that only narrowly avoided the drop last term.

The three-year deal he was presented just proves the trust the club's board have in the man, who boasts a wealth of experience in the Premier League, and the long-term plan down at St. Mary's for the future.

Whilst his current behind-the-scenes doings at Southampton have more than won over the terraces, supporters are still yet to see just how pivotal Mark Hughes' role will be to the promising tenure the man potentially possesses for the team.

'Sparky's' transfer business heading in the right direction

What happens to be far too much of a regular occurence in the modern footballing era is the complete overhaul of squads following the appointment of a new manager, however, one thing of an ever-growing list of reasons as to why Mark Hughes is succeeding at Southampton is the belief he has in the current crop of players. 

With the exact same side which was facing inevitable relegation under Pellegrino, Hughes has sprung life into the first-team and were mentally comfortable when the 2017-18 season climaxed; and very little has changed. 

Jeremy Pied and Florin Gardos were the only two major departures in the Saints' retained list with revolutionised shot-stopper Alex McCarthy penning fresh terms, much to everyone's delight. 

Getting the 28 year-old to agree a new deal at Southampton does show a hint of Mark Hughes' 'out-of-date' ideas when it comes to approaching the transfer market. For too many clubs, it is far more easily able to dive into business and spend tens of millions on a goalkeeper who may not be a whole lot greater than the current crop - just for 'potential'? 

In order to regain their entitlement of being a threat in the top-flight of English football, money was going to be needed to spend if the Saints were to become a top-half outfit once again. 

Four new arrivals have walked through the entrance to St. Mary's this summer, with spending climbing above the £50 million. Whilst that does seem rather excessive, Mark Hughes can be praised on the fact of the quality he's added to the first-team for what is, theoretically, very little expenditure. 

Stuart Armstrong is a capable acquisition with an abundance of experience on how to win matches having done so quite often at Celtic. Meanwhile, Mohamed Elyounoussi followed the midfielder and the Norwegian's attacking remark is certainly something to rejuvenate the fans' spirits prior to the new season.

Angus Gunn, a very encouraging, young player who slots between the sticks, could be part of Mark Hughes' long-term plan at Southampton. Calmly slotting in the second-choice bracket for the time being, the former Manchester City man may be a mainstay on the south coast for years to come.

The most recent signing to excite supporters was the imminent addition of centre-half Jannik Vestergaard - an area of the pitch that the Saints desperately needed to strengthen and having doing so, Hughes deserves all the envy he receives in the coming weeks.

Is this just the beginning?

Southampton's rather pleasing business in the transfer window is one reason as to why fans can look ecstatic for Mark Hughes' tenure at the club, but it is also the fact he can recognise the supporters' worries and address them swiftly to ease fears - inpouring confidence into the players he dearly trusts to finish in the ultimate top-half spot they quite rightly deserve.

Very little negativity lies around the Saints camp as the team look ahead to the rest of their pre-season schedule this month. Whether that is allowing every player minutes in matches to present the opportunity to impress, or tying up their futures imminently to ensure they're not sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

Mark Hughes has vast experience in the professional game, both as a player and a manager, and that is an attribute that definitely helps him as he knows what players do and don't want to hear, as well man management seemingly being one of his top priorities.

Which is the main reason as to why it's critical that even if the Saints have a poor patch in the first few matches of the season, that the club stick with Hughes for the foreseeable next twelve months; although if the two-time Premier League winner carries on the way he is then Southampton won't endure a horrid run of results for a while.

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