Leeds handed new managerial option to rub salt into Southampton wounds

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Leeds have been handed a fresh managerial option after Ralph Hasenhuttl rejected the chance to take over at Hoffenheim following talks with the Bundesliga club, according to reports in Germany. The Austrian tactician is yet to return to the dugout since his dismissal at Southampton in November having previously indicated he would consider retiring from coaching once he left St Mary’s.

But it appears Hasenhuttl is not yet ready to turn his back on management after discussing the current vacancy at Hoffenheim.

Sky Germany are reporting that the ex-Saints boss has since turned down the Bundesliga outfit with Pellegrino Matarazzo now the frontrunner for the position.

It means Leeds now have another option on the table as they continue the search for Jesse Marsch’s successor following his sacking on Monday.

Any approach for Hasenhuttl would rub salt into the wounds of Southampton as they continue to ponder the potential sacking of Nathan Jones.

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The ‘Klopp of the Alps’ is still held in high regard on the South Coast despite his departure as fans continue to turn on current boss Jones following a dismal run of form in the Premier League.

Jones is understood to have frustrated the Southampton hierarchy during a bizarre press conference after the 3-0 defeat at Brentford on Saturday in which he claimed he was going to stop listening to outside influences.

“I’ve compromised because of fans, and so on, a few little things but – no more,” he said.

“I’ve been very successful playing a fluent style, Luton were a real aggressive front-footed side. Statistically, there weren’t many better than me around Europe in terms of aggression, clean sheets, defending the box, balls in the box, xG, all those sort of things.

“We were pound-for-pound the best because we were spending next to nothing and producing so much. I’ve gone away from that.”

If Leeds are to consider Hasenhuttl, there are a host of other names already seemingly ahead of him in the race for the Elland Road hot-seat.

There has already been talk that Real Madrid legend Raul has already rejected the chance to join the club.

Leeds are long-term admirers of the 45-year-old, who was previously considered as a replacement for Marcelo Bielsa having spent time coaching Real Madrid’s youth and B sides since retiring in 2015.

Other candidates include West Bromwich Albion’s highly-rated boss Carlos Corberan, who has totally transformed the Baggies’ fortunes this season after replacing Steve Bruce at The Hawthorns.

Rayo Vallecano boss Andoni Iraola is also under consideration with his side currently sat fifth in the La Liga table.

It seems Southampton could pay the price for sticking with Jones now that Leeds have moved quickly to sack Marsch.

Should Jones eventually be dismissed within the next few matches, both Everton and Leeds will have made appointments during a timeframe in which the Welshman was seemingly fighting a losing battle at St Mary’s.

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