Steven Gerrard Now 1/50 To Become Next Aston Villa Manager

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard looks set to be named as the new Aston Villa boss after his odds were cut to 1/50 by both Betfair and Paddy Power. 

The 41-year-old is currently in his fourth season at Ibrox and his time has been a success, having won the Scottish Premiership last season and guided them to the last 16 of the Europa League.

Gerrard recently brushed off speculation that he could take the vacancy at Newcastle United prior to Eddie Howe being appointed as manager, saying in a recent BT Sport post-match interview: “Do I look happy? Do I look settled? Don’t ask me silly questions then.”

It turns out that may no longer be the case for Gerrard after Aston Villa have come calling, with Chief Executive Christian Purslow, who worked alongside the former Liverpool captain during the pair’s times at Anfield.

Purslow is a known admirer of Gerrard’s abilities and he would inherit a squad which benefited from £90m worth of investment in the summer after signing Danny Ings, Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Axel Tuanzebe.

A lack of investment is something that has frustrated the Rangers manager in recent times as he commented: “We have been short in the two Europa League games but at this level, which is improving year in, year out, if we want to keep growing and go to the extra level we need to spend big money in the transfer windows, it is as simple as that. 

“To compete with the teams we are playing against, we have to spend big money. In the last two windows we haven’t spent a penny.”

Villa have certainly shown no hesitancy in being active in the transfer market since their return to the Premier League and there is the impression that he would only go with guarantees of investment.

In terms of net worth, only Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle United have more wealthy owners than Villa, making this a perfect first job for Gerrard to take in the Premier League.

His immediate task will be to drag the club up the table, where they currently sit 16th after 11 matches and are just two points clear of the relegation zone. Their slide comes after five straight defeats under former coach Dean Smith and they have a difficult run of fixtures in their next five.

They face Brighton (H), Crystal Palace (A), Manchester City (H) and Aston Villa (H), before facing an emotional return to Liverpool at Anfield.

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Will Gerrard Work?

Since losing Jack Grealish in the summer, Villa seemed to have somewhat lost their identity and Smith struggled to really settle on a preferred lineup or formation. They have regularly switched between a back three and back four over the course of the first 11 games and have also struggled to find a way of getting both Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings functioning in the same team.

At Rangers, Gerrard has consistently operated with a 4-3-3 system with full-backs playing high and wide, while the two wingers would play narrow. Subsequently, their midfielders were required to cover a huge amount of ground, particularly out of possession and it will be interesting to see whether he adjusts this setup for the players in the squad or whether he persists with it and fits out those who don’t fit in.

At the time of writing, Villa are seventh-favourites to be relegated from the Premier League with Bet365 at 5/1, while they are also priced at 10/3 to finish in the top half come the end of the season. They are certainly expected to be a bottom-half team this season, currently being priced at 1/5 to do so, but Gerrard will certainly have bigger expectations than that. 

If he does make the decision to leave Rangers mid-season, he will want to do so at a project where they can compete in the Premier League, particularly if he is to realise his ultimate ambition and manage his boyhood club Liverpool.

A number of online betting sites have him as the favourite to replace Jurgen Klopp when his time at Anfield comes to an end and he will have to be a success in the Midlands to justify his credentials to be the next man.

It is a risky move from that standpoint, as a poor spell at Villa Park could ultimately put him a step back in the queue of candidates. At Rangers, he is in a situation where he is regularly qualifying for European football and competing for trophies whilst doing so at a club with enormous expectations, albeit at a lower standard than what is in the Premier League.

Gerrard is clearly an ambitious individual and although this won’t go down well with the Rangers faithful, this is an opportunity that could further enhance his managerial reputation in a similar way to former Old Firm foe Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City.

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About Dean Carr

Dean is a sports betting writer specialising in match previews and betting strategy for football and UK horse racing. Dean has a wide range of expertise, including betting previews, recommendations, tactics, and betting psychology.