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Steven Gerrard, Aston Villa first choice to take over from Dean Smith

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is wanted by Aston Villa. | PHOTO: Ian MacNicol/GettyImages |

Rangers manager and former Liverpool player Steven Gerrard has emerged as Aston Villa’s preferred candidate to take over the managerial reign from Dean Smith at Villa Park.

Smith was sacked as Aston Villa manager following Villa’s loss at Southampton on Friday night – which was their fifth consecutive defeat in the Premier League this season.

 Dean Smith

Dean Smith was sacked by Aston Villa after five consecutive losses in the Premier League. The club is expected to approach Steven Gerrard to succeed Smith. | PHOTO: The Athletic |

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 starman Jack Grealish left Villa Park for Manchester City in an England-record £100m transfer fee.

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 streak.

Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow is leading the search along with sporting director Johan Lange, and various reports from England state that they had begun looking at prospective candidates in the weeks leading up to Smith’s sacking.

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez, former AS Roma manager Paulo Fonseca who was reported to head to Newcastle before the club appointed Eddie Howe, Kasper Hjulmand, Brighton manager Graham Potter, and Ralf Rangnick are all believed to have been discussed by Villa chiefs, but sources have stated 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 despite interests from European giants.

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.

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 the Scottish side Rangers.

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard is currently the manager of Scottish Premier League side Rangers and led them to the league title last season. He is wanted by Aston Villa to succeed Dean Smith. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

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 is 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 is ‘confident’ that their new manager will be in place before their next Premier League fixture.

Aston Villa will host Brighton & Hove Albion at the Villa Park on Saturday 20, November in the first match since sacking Dean Smith.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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