It’s over for Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa. The Villans have called time on their partnership with the former England international, with the club 17th in the Premier League table.
Villa struggled to create a clear-cut identity under Gerrard – though they did maim a number of sides with their over-exuberant and often dangerous tackling – and chief executive officer Christian Purslow and the NSWE group are now on the lookout for a new boss to get the best out of a squad which was invested in heavily during the summer.
Here are the current contenders to succeed Gerrard in the Villa Park dugout – and don’t worry, there’ll be no shoddy jokes comparing a Premier League football club to a certain government in disarray. Truss us.
Pochettino is one of Villa’s main targets, though 90min understands the Argentine is holding out on a return to former club Tottenham.
It was in north London where Pochettino enhanced his reputation in England after a positive first impression with Southampton. He led Spurs to Premier League finishes of third, second and third as well as a run to the 2018/19 Champions League final.
His most recent spell at Paris Saint-Germain has damaged his reputation somewhat, but Poch loves a project and would provide the Villa faithful with fast, attacking football.
A more ambitious approach for Thomas Tuchel, out of work since leaving Chelsea, has also been floated.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss enjoyed league success with Paris Saint-Germain but could never make a title challenge in England with the Blues, though the Champions League triumph in 2021 still endears him to the fanbase.
Going from Stamford Bridge to Villa Park is such a short space of time is unlikely, but if Tuchel wants to get back into management, there are worse footballers to work with than Douglas Luiz and Philippe Coutinho.
Unai Emery’s management career is respected in many corners in England, but he never found his rhythm during his spell with Arsenal.
He reached the Europa League final with the Gunners – a competition he had already won three times with Sevilla and again later with Villarreal.
Emery brushed off Newcastle’s advances last year to remain in Spain and Villa would have to make a hugely attractive offer to persuade the Spaniard to relocated back to the United Kingdom.