Steven Gerrard is Aston Villa‘s prime candidate to take over their vacant manager’s role, with various reports claiming a move is imminent for the Liverpool legend.
Villa parted ways with fan favourite Dean Smith on Sunday following a poor run of results, the 50-year-old becoming the fifth Premier League coach sacked already this season.
Though the Norwich position remains open, the role at Villa Park is certainly the most attractive, and arguably one of the best in European football given the infrastructure at the Midlands club.
Sitting 16th in the table but with ambitions of finishing much higher, Villa need to get this appointment right in order to avoid disaster in the second half of the season.
According to widespread reports, that has led them to Rangers manager Gerrard, who has built a strong reputation since leaving his job with the Liverpool under-18s to take over at Ibrox.
Three sources – the well-placed Sam Wallace, John Percy and Matt Law – report for the Telegraph, revealing that Gerrard is interested in making the switch.
Villa have already made “made background checks” and the 41-year-old is “ready to speak with the club if Rangers grant permission” – though the latter is covered by a release clause in his contract.
That release clause is claimed to be over £2 million, with the Daily Record reporting that it is between £2 million and £3 million, which the Telegraph add “will not be a problem for Villa’s owners.”
It is hoped that the position will be filled by Monday, leaving just under a week to prepare for the visit of Brighton on November 20, with Gerrard expected to be joined by Rangers assistants Gary McAllister and Michael Beale.
There would be a familiar feel to the backroom staff at Villa, then, if they were to head to Anfield on December 11 with Gerrard in charge.
McAllister is a club legend who played alongside Gerrard at Liverpool, while Beale worked in various positions at academy level throughout six years on Merseyside – interrupted by a brief spell at Sao Paulo in Brazil.
With Gerrard widely regarded as a future Reds manager, filling the role at Villa could prove to be the perfect primer for a young coach who has impressed in Scotland.
He led Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title last season, receiving three Manager of the Year awards in the process along with four Manager of the Month prizes.
Roberto Martinez is Villa’s alternative if they cannot land Gerrard, but the rapidly moving story indicates that Liverpool’s old No. 8 could soon be in the dugout at Villa Park.