Online Betting Sites – Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has emerged as Aston Villa’s preferred candidate to succeed Dean Smith. Smith was relieved of his duties following Villa‘s loss at Southampton on Friday night – their fifth defeat in succession in the Premier League.
That result leaves Villa just two points above the drop zone despite a large summer outlay on the likes of Emi Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings – although that was only after talisman Jack Grealish departed for Manchester City in a British-record £100m transfer.
Smith and Villa began the campaign well, securing wins over Everton and Manchester United, but their form dropped off dramatically and the reverse at St. Mary’s was the final straw.
The club’s CEO Christian Purslow is leading the search along with sporting director Johan Lange, and Mysport99 understands they had begun looking at prospective candidates in the weeks leading up to Smith’s sacking.
Roberto Martinez, Paulo Fonseca, Kasper Hjulmand, Graham Potter and Ralf Rangnick are all believed to have been discussed by Villa chiefs, but sources have told Mysport99 that Gerrard is their first choice.
Purslow knows Gerrard from his time at Liverpool, where he was managing director between 2009 and 2010 and played a major role in making sure the former midfielder remained at Anfield.
It is believed that Villa’s billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wesley Edens are keen on a big name, but the proficiency of the new manager is paramount, and Purslow believes Gerrard ticks every box.
Lange is also believed to approve of Gerrard, who has been with Rangers since 2018 and led them to the Scottish title last season as they denied arch-rivals Celtic a tenth successive title.
Steven Gerrard has long been linked with a return to Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp’s successor, but the German is currently committed to the Reds until 2024 – just as the former Reds captain is to Rangers.
Sources close to Rangers have said that while they are adamant that they do not want to lose Gerrard, the club would not stand in his way if he told them he wanted to leave.
Villa are now preparing to make an approach for Gerrard having already done due diligence on the England legend, which has been made easier given Purslow’s in-depth knowledge of the 41-year-old.
However, those close to the Midlands club have also insisted that checks are going ahead on a ‘number’ of other candidates, as they want to make sure they do their homework and get their appointment right.
With the international break now underway, Villa are ‘confident’ that their new manager will be in place before their next Premier League fixture against Brighton on 20 November.