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Dean Smith became the latest managerial casualty in the Premier League over the weekend after being dismissed from his role as head coach of Aston Villa.
Smith had been in charge at Villa Park since taking the job in October 2018 and oversaw the club’s return to the top flight after guiding them to promotion via the Championship Play-Off Final.
Having narrowly survived relegation on the final day of the 2019/20 season, Villa were much improved last time out after finishing 11th in the Premier League, but a record of 18 defeats throughout the calendar year of 2021 ultimately left the writing on the wall.
Smith leaves the club sat 16th in the Premier League table after losing five league games on the spin, but there are many who believe it is a harsh decision given his best player, Jack Grealish, was sold just a matter of months ago for £100m.
There is a much different look to the Aston Villa squad now than 12 months ago and the new man in charge will have to do a better job of gelling the new players into the fold. There will naturally be big betting interest when a Premier League manager is sacked and the early signs from the best football betting sites indicate that Steven Gerrard is Villa’s top target.
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Can Gerrard be tempted from Rangers?
Rangers boss Gerrard is currently the odds-on favourite at Betfair at 10/11 and his relationship with current Villa CEO Christian Purslow has likely played a significant role in that. Purslow worked with Gerrard during the pair’s time at Liverpool and the former is a well known admirer of the former England captain.
Rangers currently sit top of the Scottish Premiership table as they look to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 2011 and Gerrard previously ruled himself out of taking the Newcastle United job. However, he is still yet to comment on these most recent links and may be more tempted by this proposition with the Villa squad looking a lot more talented on paper.
Still, his unbreakable bond with Liverpool is something that may be an issue later down the line, with it appearing likely that Jurgen Klopp’s tenure at Anfield will come to an end in 2024. That role is undeniably Gerrard’s main ambition and it’s hard to imagine him hesitating if it was ever offered to him.
Full Next Aston Villa Manager Odds*
- Steven Gerrard – 10/11
- John Terry – 4/1
- Paolo Fonseca – 4/1
- Kasper Hjulmand – 5/1
- Graham Potter – 7/1
- Frank Lampard – 12/1
- Ralph Hasenhuttl – 16/1
- Lucien Favre – 16/1
*All odds provided by Betfair.
John Terry to return to Villa Park?
Former Aston Villa player and assistant manager John Terry is currently the second-favourite to make a return to the club at 4/1. Terry resigned from his role as assistant manager in July in order to spend more time with his family and focus his attention on becoming a manager.
There is no doubt that Villa have had a drop off defensively since the former Chelsea captain stepped down from his role and he was a popular figure amongst the first team squad. The 40-year-old is searching for his first managerial job in football and that lack of experience is something that may ultimately hold him back against the other contenders.
Potter, Hjulmand, Fonseca in the frame
Outside of the two main contenders are managers with a strong pedigree in Graham Potter, Kasper Hjulmand and Paolo Fonseca.
Potter is a 7/1 shot at this moment in time and is one of the most highly-rated British managers in the game. Premier League managers regularly wax lyrical about the job Potter has done at Brighton, turning them into one of the most attractive teams to watch in the league. He has it good at the AMEX Stadium, but there is no doubt that Aston Villa is a bigger club and must be a huge temptation for any manager that receives the call.
The two main European options are Kasper Hjulmand and Paolo Fonseca, with the former’s reputation taking a huge leap over the summer and seeing him priced at 5/1. Hjulmand guided Denmark to the semi-finals of the European Championship, losing to England after extra time, but gained enormous credit for his team’s performances and the way they were able to handle the Christian Eriksen situation.
As for Fonseca, he appears to be linked to nearly every Premier League job that becomes available now, having been considered by both Tottenham and Newcastle for their managerial vacancies. Fonseca is 4/1 with Betfair at this moment in time and it looks just a matter of time before he eventually comes to England.