Whilst the transfer window rumour-mill is in full flow, we perhaps hadn’t expected those links to include current assistant boss John Terry.
The timing is unusual, with Villa clinging on to life in the Premier League, it remains unclear what decisions the clubs owners might take in the event of relegation.
John Terry was a surprise signing in the optimistic days of the Dr Tony Xia regime, playing out the final season of his professional career at Villa Park.
It was ultimately a campaign that saw Villa miss out on promotion in a playoff final defeat against Fulham.
Terry impressed overall, despite being in the twilight of his career, with a number of towering performances and his on field presence changing the perception of the former Chelsea man amongst many Villa fans.
He joined Smith as his assistant at Villa in October 2018.
Lee Johnson, never a fan of Villa, was relieved of his duties at Bristol City last weekend after four straight defeats.
Terry has been quietly building his coaching reputation at Villa, playing under-study to Dean Smith.
Whilst last season’s promotion campaign was an obvious high, it has been offset by a decidedly poor return to the Premier League.
Indeed, any hopes that Terry’s defensive pedigree would translate to the current first team, simply hasn’t happened, with Villa now having conceded the most goals in the division (62).
Whilst Smith’s position is believed to be safe, for now, it appears remote to see Terry promoted in the event he departed. Whilst Terry is obviously a high profile individual, it remains to be seen whether either he or Villa would see this as too risky.
Villa might be soon facing the need to haul themselves out of The Championship next term, which as we and many other clubs can attest, is far from straightforward. It also makes and breaks management careers routinely.
Little should be read either into the recent news that Terry is selling his home, with the Surrey based property the scene of a 2017 burglary.
Bristol might though offer a feasible stepping stone for Terry’s ambitions, especially if he were to be looking to begin to hone his skills as a number one. The city is also handy for those who regularly access London, with Terry still a frequent face around Stamford Bridge, this could also appeal.
Bristol City too are ambitious, after regular decent Championship finishes and were clearly not tolerating Johnson’s failure to progress season on season. This would not be the same level of immediate pressure as Terry would expect to face from Villa’s owner’s and fanbase, especially if a single season return to the top flight is the brief.