May 19, 2024

Southampton are in for a busy few weeks.

After a humbling 5-0 defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday night, the club’s fragile prospects of automatic promotion were dashed.

Now the focus must shift to their final two regular Championship games, where manager Russell Martin will be hoping for a significant response.

Southampton had won three games in a row before losing to Cardiff City and Leicester, and they must regain their form ahead of the play-offs.

If the Saints are promoted to the Premier League, it will have a significant impact on the players they may sign in the summer transfer window.

However, one significant figure behind the scenes will not be involved in the postseason recruitment since he has accepted a position elsewhere.

Michael Cairney to depart Southampton

MICHAEL CAIRNEY APPOINTED HEAD OF RECRUITMENT | Dundee United Football Club

 

That man is Michael Cairney, who works as a scout for Southampton.

According to the Daily Record, Dundee United has named Cairney as their new head of recruitment ahead of their return to the Scottish Premier League.

According to the article, the scout has already identified a number of targets for his new employers and has presented them to the club, albeit the quality of the players is likely to be significantly different from those he was observing for Southampton.

Despite being only 30, Cairney has extensive experience, having worked for Barnet, Doncaster Rovers, and Dutch club FC Twente before joining Southampton as a scout.

Cairney was not only working for the south coast club, but also for Southampton’s two clubs, Goztepe and Valenciennes, who are owned by Sport Republic.

Speaking to Dundee United’s official website, Cairney stated what drew him to the position: “It’s a really exciting time to be joining the club – we have a bit of a blank canvas and an excellent opportunity to implement some new structures and processes.”

“Work has been underway for several weeks on identifying some key targets and enhancing our recruitment strategy moving forward.”

His role at Dundee appears to be significantly more senior than his work at the Saints, and the idea of a ‘blank canvas’ appears to have drawn Cairney – whose areas of expertise are the Dutch and Portuguese leagues – to the position.

Cairney joins Jason Wilcox out of Southampton

At this point, it is unknown how Cairney’s departure will affect Southampton’s recruitment.

Worryingly, he is not the first off-field staff member to leave so close to the season’s finale.

Following their Premier League relegation last summer, Southampton appointed sporting director Jason Wilcox as part of a huge personnel makeover, and he was responsible for appointing Russell Martin as manager.

Wilcox left the Saints after less than a year in the role to become Manchester United’s new technical director.

While it is tough to criticize Wilcox for seizing the opportunity to lead a new era at one of the world’s most prestigious football clubs, it is troubling that Southampton is losing crucial members of staff behind closed doors.

Regardless of marketing, it appears that this summer will be extremely busy.

Fans will be hoping that a backup plan has been put in place for such departures, and that the impact on the club on the field is limited.

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