After a period of relative managerial longevity under Dean Smith (3 years), Villa are now searching for a third manager in just 11 months after Steven Gerrard was shown the door. The Villa Underground takes a look at the current list of potential candidates doing the rounds.
NAMES IN THE FRAME
The odds on Villa and Gerrard’s former coach Michael Beale were briefly slashed as rumours abounded on the club’s interest. The current QPR manager, credited in some quarters for being the technical and tactical brains for Gerrard at Rangers, recently turned down Wolves. Beale is thought to be increasingly unlikely, having distanced himself from any switch after less than positive remarks about the club’s hierarchy [22nd October].
The big name in the mix even before Gerrard’s sacking was that of former PSG and Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. Whilst believed to have been Villa’s top target, Pochettino is widely reported to have rejected any approach, citing a desire to hold out for a Champions League role.
Few Villa fans could genuinely admit to having heard of Ruben Amorim, with the Portuguese manager understood to be Villa’s primary target after Pochettino’s snub. Amorim is a rising managerial talent having led Sporting to their first title in Portugal in 19 years. Any move would be as costly as it would be risky, with a compensation figure of around €30m euros cited for his released.
Sean Dyche is out of work after being sacked by Burnley prior to their relegation to The Championship and appears high amongst the favourites. Whilst unfashionable, Dyche cannot be dismissed given his ability to consistently retain Burnley’s Premier League status and finishing as high as 7th. It’s unclear how Villa fans would feel about the prospect of adopting a combative style of play we became accustomed to witnessing from The Clarets, should Dyche be unveiled.
Former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was among early tentative enquiries from Villa. However, the German is believed to be uninterested in taking the helm at Villa Park. Tuchel reportedly ‘politely declined‘ Villa’s advances, and as such the 10-time trophy winner is to be discounted.
Thomas Frank has impressed at Brentford, methodically building and setting up his side to compete in the Premier League. However, when asked about the vacancy has cooled any potential interest, stating that he is happy at Brentford and feels that he has ‘unfinished business’ at the club. The Dane does however have a release clause believed to be in the region of just £3m and with his long-term future uncertain, likely remains a genuine candidate of interest.
Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery is a strong contender after rehabilitating his reputation at Villarreal. The Spaniard defeated Manchester United in the 2021 Europa League final and would bring Champions League experience too. However, it remains to be seen whether he could be persuaded to return to England, and rejected the advances of Newcastle before they settled on Eddie Howe. There are unverified reports that Villa are set for preliminary talks with the 50-year-old early next week.
Andre Villas-Boas is a name that has popped out of nowhere, with quotes suggesting that whilst Boas holds an interest, Villa do not. After under-whelming stints at both Chelsea and Spurs, Villas-Boas would certainly have something to prove if he were to return to the Premier League with Villa.