By 90Min
October 28, 2019

Southampton are reportedly looking to appoint former Schalke and Lokomotiv Moscow director Erik Stoffelshaus as their new sporting director in a bid to halt the downward spiral the club finds itself on at present. 

There is turmoil both on and off the pitch at St Mary's at present, the former highlighted in alarming fashion after their 9-0 humiliation at the hands of Leicester on Friday. 

Behind the scenes, the club looks completely different too. Sporting director Ross Wilson -  who oversaw the recruitment of the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mané and Dušan Tadić - departed for Rangers earlier this month, becoming the fourth senior figure to leave the club in the last 12 months after vice-chairman Les Reed, chairman Ralph Krueger and assistant manager Danny Rohl.

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They could be forgiven, then, for being keen to replace Wilson swiftly, and according to reports this week, that's exactly what they are planning to do. The Sun say that Stoffelshaus - currently without a club - has moved to the top of their shortlist to oversee the footballing operation at the club.

The Saints were once the blueprint of how to run a football club in England, with their first-class recruitment and youth development putting them out in front of their peers for years after their promotion from the Championship. They have fallen away in recent years, however, and even after the appointment of Ralph Hasenhüttl, they are once again staring relegation in the face. 

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Securing the services of of Stoffelshaus, who is believed to be in the running for the same post at Manchester United, would be seen as a huge step to restoring that reputation. 

The 49-year-old did exemplary work at Schalke before leaving to work in Canada, as he is credited with spotting and recruiting Ivan Rakitić among others, while playing a key role in the development of Mesut Özil and Manuel Neuer. 

Most recently, he spent two years with Lokomotiv Moscow, where his influence helped them to the Russian Premier League title in his first full season. 

Southampton would likely want to tie up an appointment sooner rather than later, given the apparent lack of direction at the club at present. They want to keep Hasenhüttl around despite languishing in the bottom three, but feel appointing a proven sporting director is integral if they are to have any success going forward. 

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