Dutch manager lined up by Saints

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The Independent Online

Southampton are today expected to push through plans for a European-style coaching system by appointing the Dutchman Mark Wotte as their new manager. The 45-year-old has been enthusiastically backed by the club's performance director, Sir Clive Woodward, even though Wotte has endured an unhappy two years at Feyenoord.

Woodward met Wotte after the Dutch club's game two weekends ago against PSV Eindhoven. Wotte was then interviewed on Monday by the Southampton chairman, Rupert Lowe, and stepped down as Feyenoord's technical director the next day.

However, Lowe has interviewed three other candidates and Southampton sources continued to deny last night that Wotte, the former coach of Utrecht and Willem II, had been formally offered a four-year contract.

But a deal is likely after a meeting of the club's board later today. Southampton's caretaker manager, Dave Bassett, has been made aware that he will not be given the job permanently. His contract runs out at the end of next month and he is likely to leave the Championship club.

Sources say Wotte was unpopular at Feyenoord and some at the club were happy to see him go. He has been blamed for their failings, with many of the players he has brought in not living up to expectation. Wotte is not regarded as a coach of any great ability but will fit into the structure planned by Lowe and Woodward.

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