Mark Hughes has reportedly been identified as the leading candidate to replace Mauricio Pellegrino as the next Southampton manager.
Such form has left Southampton languishing just one point and one place above the relegation zone with eight games of the season remaining, and The Telegraph reports that the club's board are now willing to change their managerial criteria in order to stay in the division.
Hughes has been earmarked as a manager who could have an immediate impact, but who could also implement a longer-term philosophy which would enable more young players to come through the ranks.
The 54-year-old, who scored two goals in 61 appearances during a two-year spell at Southampton at the tail end of his playing career, has been out of work since being sacked by fellow strugglers Stoke City in January.
However, prior to this season Hughes had led the Potters to three consecutive ninth-place finishes and a 13th-place finish last term, while he is a vastly experienced manager with only five men having taken charge of more Premier League games.