Former Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has emerged as the leading candidate to take over at Southampton, according to Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph.

Wilson states that Saints are looking for a manager who has experience managing in the Premier League and somebody who is available to take over at St Mary’s immediately.

Hughes meets both criteria. Only five men have managed more Premier League games than the Welshman and he has been out of work since being sacked by Stoke in January.

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The former Manchester City, Fulham and QPR manager has been relatively successful wherever he’s been and had enjoyed a decent spell at Stoke before things went sideways this season.

Saints look like they’re making a change to their usual philosophy when hiring managers. Mauricio Pochettino, Ronald Koeman, Claude Puel and Manuel Pellegrino all came from abroad with no experience of managing in England, but with just eight games to go in the campaign, there is no time for a bedding in period, so the club seem to be targeting somebody who knows the league well.

Saints, who currently sit just one place, and one point, above the relegation zone want the new manager in place before the weekend’s FA Cup quarter final clash with Wigan Athletic.