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Koeman before Saints' epic 3-2 win over Liverpool this year.

Is Ronald Koeman the Premier League's best manager?

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When the Manager of the Year awards are handed out at the end of the season, Ronald Koeman won't be in the immediate running and, considering what Claudio Ranieri and Mauricio Pochettino have done this season, you can't complain about that.

It begs the question however about the managers who've been going about their business in a quiet manner and performing extremely well. Look no further than, Southampton boss Koeman, who has been the stand-out manager of the last two seasons regardless of where the Saints finish this year and here is why.

He's been closely run by two of the Premier Leagues biggest talents. Mark Hughes at Stoke City continues to expand and move away from the football that Tony Pulis established at that club, whilst getting the Potters to achieve their highest ever league finish, ninth, for consecutive seasons.

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'Poch', also a former Southampton manager, has done an extremely good job at Tottenham Hotspur and will continue to do so, but neither of those have had to rip up their team and pretty much start from fresh, Koeman has.

In the Summer of 2014, Ronald Koeman was appointed as Mauricio Pochettino's successor and immediately had to deal with a club in a supposed "meltdown".

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The board had changed through the previous season and, it seems, culminated in the well-liked Poch leaving for White Hart Lane. Then a significant number of players wanted to leave and the Dutchman's job was then one of extreme difficulty. 

The likes of Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Calum Chambers all left in that summer. Although Chambers was seen as a backup at the time, the rest had made 134 starts between them in the Premier League the season before. He then had to look abroad for his replacements and make sure he got them right because many were tipping them to go down. 

Could Southampton lose four key players, change their manager and rebuild with unproven talent from abroad? Without a shadow of a doubt.

The long list of players that came in included, Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Fraser Forster, Shane Long, Sadio Mane and Ryan Betrand (initially on loan). He also acquired the loan signing of Toby Alderweireld and, although he's now joined up with former Saint Pochettino, Koeman deserves a lot of credit for bringing him back into the front line and being a first choice player again.

Considering all that had gone on, personnel wise, he led them to their highest ever league finish and their highest ever points total. As Chris Kamara would say, unbelievable!

Stoke City v Southampton - Premier League

This season, although nowhere near the turmoil suffered the previous year, Southampton have sold Nathaniel Clyne (£12.5m), Morgan Schneiderlin (around £26m) and of course, Alderweireld went to Tottenham. They are on course to replicate last season's seventh place finish and considering that his expenditure over the two years has been around £130million and the income around £110m, it is simply staggering that he's kept them in the same position.

Throw in the fact that they still play good football, he's tactically sound, no nonsense when he has to be and has both played in and managed, to a certain extent, some of the biggest clubs in world football, it's hard not to think that he'll one day be managing his beloved Barcelona.

Do you know of a manager who's had to sell four or more first team players and still bettered last season's performance?

Does Ronald Koeman deserve to win Manager of the Year? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!

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Topics:
Gareth Bale
Theo Walcott
Football
Premier League
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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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