First Southampton, now Leicester: Jesse Marsch is making the RIGHT call rejecting Premier League relegation fights

Jesse Marsch Leeds United 2022-23
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The American coach has turned down two jobs in England at the final hour since being sacked by Leeds, and both decisions were totally correct

In a recent statement on social media, Jesse Marsch said he planned to take some time away and wait until the right opportunity fell his way. He'd just disembarked from the Leeds United rollercoaster and, before leaping onto another one, the American coach was going to take time to think.

For a little while, though, it seemed that we'd see Marsch back in the dugout quicker than expected. There have been multiple rumors, multiple reports, that Marsch was nearing a return, only for later reports to reveal that talks fell apart at the last minute.

For whatever reason, Marsch is still unemployed despite two offers to return to the Premier League.

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One came from Southampton, who currently sit 20th and bottom of the English top flight. The other? Leicester City, who are one spot above the Saints. Both considered Marsch and, if reports are to be believed, Marsch considered both before opting, at the final hour, to steer clear.

Did Marsch make the right choices? Almost certainly yes. For a coach whose career is at a crossroads, this next job will be key to defining his place in the European hierarchy. Get it right and he'll be in demand. Get it wrong and that may be it for him at the top level.

But there is some risk, of course, in turning down jobs like this. Will an opportunity like this present itself to Marsch again?

  1. What Marsch is looking for
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    What Marsch is looking for

    At this point in career, the thing Marsch needs most is a little bit of stability.

    He had little of it at Leeds, where he was given the impossible task of following a legend in Marcelo Bielsa. He did so admirably, keeping Leeds in the Premier League at the end of a difficult 2021-22 campaign, but it all went sour this season.

    Despite investing heavily in January, Leeds were finished with Marsch in February, moving on to Javi Gracia as they fight their own relegation battle. His time with Leeds lasted just 37 games.

    That follows a stint with RB Leipzig of just 21 matches. In a world that is very 'what have you done for me lately?', Marsch is coming off two consecutive jobs that lasted less than one full season.

    Because of that, the pressure is on for his next job and Marsch, certainly, will want to be part of project rather than another relegation fight.

    Despite the Ted Lasso nonsense thrown around due to his nationality, Marsch is generally regarded as a tactician that does know how to work with young players. He did so at Red Bull Salzburg and the New York Red Bulls, but, with clubs like Leipzig and Leeds, winning trumps all.

    Knowing that, it's hard to imagine Marsch jumping into an unstable situation, even if two have already presented themselves to him alongside a chance to return to the Premier League.

  2. The case against Southampton
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    The case against Southampton

    The first club to approach Marsch was Southampton, who did so shortly after the American left Leeds.

    The Saints parted ways with Nathan Jones in February, with the Welsh boss lasting just 14 games in charge after replacing Ralph Hasenhuttl in November. It was Marsch that was earmarked to become the club's third manager of the season before he, ultimately, turned it down.

    Reports indicated that Southampton had tracked Marsch since his time in New York and his similarities to Hassenhuttl tactically made him a good fit for the club. Ultimately, though, he decided against it.

    According to The Athletic, Marsch was offered a six-month deal with an option to extend at St. Mary's. Despite the short contract, Marsch held positive talks with the club before pulling out at the last minute.

    Reports claim that Marsch felt the timing was simply off and the task of keeping Southampton up was too great, especially with his backroom staff still working at Leeds. Given what he had just gone through, he likely just didn't want to fight a losing battle.

    And that's exactly what Southampton looks like right now: a losing battle. As things stand, the club sits dead last in the Premier League, four points from safety. They face an uphill battle to survive and will most likely be in the Championship next season.

  3. The case against Leicester
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    The case against Leicester

    While the timing felt strange with Southampton, it certainly wasn't for Leicester. It had been about two months since his Leeds exit when Marsch was offered the Foxes job but, once again, at the last moment, he pulled out.

    It has been reported that the Foxes were fully ready to appoint Marsch, and Marsch was fully ready to be appointed, only to pull out again at the final stages of talks following Saturday's loss to relegation rivals Bournemouth. Once again, Marsch was unconvinced and decided to not take the job.

    On paper, it's an interesting choice. Leicester, as a squad, have significantly more talent than Southampton and are a much bigger name thanks to their historic Premier League title run in 2016. They have legitimate international talent, even if their record doesn't show it this season, and stylistically should be able to play in Marsch's high-pressing system.

    Once again, though, it appears Marsch was unwilling to dive head first into a relegation battle. The Foxes currently find themselves in 19th place, two points from safety. They're winless in their last eight Premier League matches and, like Southampton, are now a favorite to get relegated.

    N'Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez aren't walking through that door and, even if they were, it may not be enough to save Leicester. Marsch, apparently, reached the same conclusion, opting to pass on the job.

  4. What this all means

    What this all means

    Despite all that went wrong at Leeds, Marsch still finds himself in the mix for Premier League jobs. That has to be good news, right?

    Most likely, yes. It's good for Marsch that Premier League clubs still see him as a legitimate candidate, even if the clubs in question might seem Championship-bound. It appears his reputation in England remains intact and that those in the know respect the work he has done in his career thus far.

    However, this may be the quality of club Marsch is looking at in this point in his career: relegation-threatened. The big clubs aren't going to come calling given his last two jobs so, if he wants to stay in the Premier League, this may be the best he'll get.

    That doesn't mean this is the only time he'll get it, though. Marsch, more than likely, is just waiting to see what comes this summer. Clubs all over the world will be looking for new managers and, even if they are relegation fodder, he'll have 38 games to build them up and not just eight.

    Marsch could also take a step down the ladder or, perhaps, a step outside of England. The Premier League isn't the end all be all, especially for coaches that want any form of longevity. Perhaps a move to the Championship or to a different league will give Marsch that type of job he seeks.

    And then there's the U.S. men's national team, which will loom large until either Marsch or the program go in a different direction. So far, it seems Marsch is eager to stay in Europe, but who knows how things will go come the summer.

    Until then, Marsch seems content to wait and see what opportunities present themselves. They are out there, for sure, as evidenced by these two suitors, even if Marsch, quite rightly, decided neither were for him.