Southampton have appointed Nathan Jones as manager on a three-and-a-half year contract until June 2026.
Jones’ appointment comes just days after the Saints sacked Ralph Hasenhuttl following a poor run of results, which has seen them slip into the Premier League relegation zone.
Speaking about his fresh adventure after agreeing a contract following permission from Luton to hold discussions over the managerial vacancy, Jone said: “I’m really proud to be given this opportunity.
“I know a lot about the club from back in the days of The Dell, to coming here to St Mary’s, and it’s a wonderful football club.”
This move also sees Jones manage in England’s top-flight for the first time which has been an ambition of his, which he had “dreamt” about as he praised Southampton for their “structure” and running in terms of deeper analysis than just results.
Jones’ first match in charge of Southampton will see the Saints visit Liverpool on Saturday 12 November in a 3pm GMT kick-off at Anfield, with his first home match taking place on Boxing Day against Brighton with kick-off at 3pm GMT on Amazon Prime.
Jones leaves Luton with the Hatters sat ninth in the Championship and will be joined at St Mary’s Stadium by Chris Cohen and Alan Sheehan.
Luton CEO, Gary Sweet has paid tribute to the “fantastic legacy” that Jones has left after two spells at Kenilworth Road totalling 303 matches, either side of a difficult stint in charge of Stoke City between January-November 2019.
Jones first arrived at Luton in January 2016 and took the club to promotion from League Two to League One in 2017-18 season, with the club never finishing a season lower than their finishing position of the previous season under the 49 year-old’s watch.
Sweet therefore has spoken of his pride at Jones’ work to improve the club and praised Southampton for their maturity during talks, as he added:
“Together with his staff, and of course the brilliant group of players he has nurtured for the best part of six and a half years, he has given us some fantastic memories and a team to be constantly proud of.
“We all wish him well in his new role and thank Southampton for the way in which everything has been handled. They have acted in a most professional manner since first making their approach to us, as has Nathan.”
Sweet however acknowledged that Jones’ departure might be “highly frustrating to watch,” for some fans but admitted that he is happy that the manner of his exit was “transparent” despite the legal formalities not being completed until early hours of this morning.
On what impact Jones will leave behind at Luton, Sweet commented:
“Nathan leaves behind a fantastic legacy, along with Alan and Chris, who have both also played a significant part in taking us on a journey from League Two, in Alan’s case, to establishing us in the higher reaches of the Championship. We thank them both too and wish them every success.”
With Luton sat ninth in the Championship and two points off the play-offs, Sweet nevertheless believes that Jones have made the club “attractive” for any manager to come and lead a promotion challenge.
On what this situation means for the club moving forward, Sweet said: “This gives a genuine opportunity to give our continued progress a refresh, and we are treating this process exactly the same as when recruiting players.
“A managerial recruitment group has been set up and has met every day since we were first contacted by Southampton as we conduct a thorough search for his successor, and we are well into that painstakingly detailed process.”
Chief Recruitment Officer, Mick Harford will take charge of the club for Saturday’s home clash against Rotherham, with the club opting to use their four-week mid-season break to appoint “… the right person to continue taking our football club forward.”