Nathan Jones

Southampton have confirmed Nathan Jones as their new manager on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

Jones’ reputation took a knock during his time in charge at Stoke City but he has won plenty of plaudits since returning to Luton Town, leading to this chance at St Mary’s.

Chris Cohen and Alan Sheehan will join him on the south coast as first team coaches, with Southampton wasting little time to replace axed Ralph Hasenhuttl.

‘I’m really proud to be given this opportunity,’ Jones said.

‘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.

‘A lot of my family are Southampton fans, which doesn’t half help, and I feel really, really proud to be given the opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to getting started.

‘Obviously, I wanted to manage in the Premier League, I’ve dreamt of that since I’ve become a coach or a manager, but this club in particular – because of how it’s run, because of the structure, because of how they look deeper than just results – really appeals to me.’

Jones, who was in the stands to watch Southampton defeat League One Sheffield Wednesday on penalties in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, was under contract with Luton through until 2027.

As a result, Southampton have come to a compensation agreement that Luton have described as ‘acceptable’, believed to be an initial £3million.

Losing Jones is a real blow for Luton as they again look well-placed to push for the Championship play-offs this season.

He leaves them ninth in the table after 20 matches.

In his own statement, Luton CEO Gary Sweet wrote: ‘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.

‘The fact we are looking up towards the Premier League, rather than down towards League One as we were when we brought Nathan back to the club, makes the Luton Town job an attractive one.

‘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.’

Mick Harford, the club’s chief recruitment officer, is in interim charge for the weekend’s game against Rotherham United.

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