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Cortese’s Southampton departure

By | 23rd January 2014

Southampton have been thrown into disarray following the departure of Nicola Cortese from his chairman role at St Mary’s. Although Cortese provided no financial backing to Southampton, who are bankrolled by the Liebherr family, his role at the club was nothing short of pivotal.

The fact that Cortese has left casts doubt about the future of manager Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine was brought to the club by Cortese, and he has said in the past that his position would be untenable without the Italian. Many were left bewildered when Cortese removed Nigel Adkins as manager last season, but that decision has been more than justified. Under Pochettino the club have turned into a top-8 side, and Pochettino is 33-1 with Paddy Power to be named LMA manager of the year. Cortese unearthed this diamond, and if Pochettino follows Cortese out the door in the summer, then all the hard work at Southampton could unravel very quickly.

Another area that Cortese was instrumental in was signing players. Using his Italian connections, Cortese has managed to bring high quality players to St Mary’s, often beating off bigger clubs. Look at Gaston Ramirez; the Uruguayan impressed hugely at the 2012 Olympics and was touted with a move to Liverpool, yet he chose Southampton. Why? Because of Cortese. Look at Dani Osvaldo, an Italian international, a player with huge calibre. He joined the Saints because of Cortese.

This summer could be tumultuous for the Saints, now 25/1 for a top six finish in the Premier League. With Cortese gone, can the club hold onto Pochettino? Probably not. Can they cling onto the influx of European players that Cortese brought in? Probably not. Can they replace the potential departures with players of a similar skill set? Probably not.

Cortese was as much a manager as he was a chairman. Numerous players paid allegiance to him, and without him they will think twice about their future Southampton career. Losing Cortese is a huge backward step for the development of the South Coast side, that much is for sure.

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