Southampton appoint former Monaco, Lyon coach Claude Puel as manager

Southampton have appointed Claude Puel as Ronald Koeman's successor as first-team manager on a three-year contract.

Former Monaco, Lille, Lyon and Nice coach Puel, 54, has never worked outside of France and spent his entire playing career at Monaco where he was coached by Arsene Wenger.

A statement released on Southampton's official website read: "The appointment of Puel follows an extensive search for the right manager to continue the club's progression in recent years.

"Puel will be joined at Southampton by Eric Black, who has been appointed Assistant First Team Manager, and Pascal Plancque, who will become the club's First Team Assistant Coach.

"Dave Watson has signed a new deal with the club to remain as part of Puel's backroom staff, while Sammy Lee has departed. The club would like to thank Sammy for his efforts during his time at St Mary's."

Executive director of football Les Reed said: "The process to appoint a new First Team Manager has been diligent and meticulous. In order to ensure we appointed a manager who would meet our needs as a club, feedback from the dressing room, as well as taking account of our culture, vision and values, was critical in drawing up our criteria for the appointment.

"The development of our young Academy players and delivering a pathway to the first team is key to the role. We were keen to appoint a coaching team who would also work closely with Martin Hunter and Radhi Jaidi in accelerating the development of our youngsters, as well as developing our current first-team squad as individuals and as a team.

"Claude has a fantastic platform to work from and is aware that our ambition is to repeat and improve on our performances in the Premier League over the past three seasons. Claude has a track record of improving the situations he has been presented with and we are confident he can repeat this at Southampton.

"His Champions League and European experience will be valuable in our Europa League challenge this coming season and with the support of our excellent staff at the club I am sure he will do well. We are once again excited about what the new season will bring, and we will continue to chase records as we have done in recent years."

Puel arrives in place of Koeman, who was appointed as manager of Everton earlier this month. Puel's notable achievements include winning the Ligue 1 title with Monaco in 2000 and reaching the Champions League semifinals with Lyon.

More recently Puel spent the last four seasons in charge of Nice whom he led to fourth place in Ligue 1 last term and qualification to the Europa League -- where they could face Southampton.

He inherits a Southampton side that achieved consecutive best-ever Premier League finishes over the past two seasons after finishing seventh and sixth, but without Victor Wanyama, who joined Tottenham in an £11 million deal, and Sadio Mane, who is set to complete a move to Liverpool for a fee of up to £36m.

It was reported Manuel Pellegrini, Rudi Garcia, Eddie Howe and Vitor Pereira were other contenders for the manager's job at St Mary's.