Aston Villa are closing in on appointing Steven Gerrard THIS WEEK with Rangers due £2.5m in compensation – and Gary McAllister and the rest of the Ibrox coaching staff are also set to move south of the border
- Steven Gerrard is edging ever closer to taking over Aston Villa as manager
- The Rangers boss is set to take his coaching staff from Ibrox to Villa Park
- Villa sacked Dean Smith on Sunday after five straight Premier League defeats
Aston Villa are close to naming Steven Gerrard as their new manager with an appointment possible by the end of this week.
Gerrard has been the No 1 target for owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens and chief executive Christian Purslow ever since Dean Smith was sacked last Sunday.
Rangers would be owed about £2.5million in compensation for the former Liverpool and England captain, with negotiations over salary and length of contract expected to proceed smoothly once he and Villa were granted permission to communicate directly.
Steven Gerrard is on the brink of leaving Rangers and taking over as Aston Villa manager
Gerrard is set to bring assistants Gary McAllister (left) and Michael Beale (right) to Villa Park
Villa players are ready for a new manager to take training next week ahead of their Premier League meeting with Brighton on November 20, when the plan is for Gerrard, 41, to be in the dug-out at Villa Park.
Bookmakers stopped taking bets on Gerrard being announced and there is resignation in Glasgow that his three-and-a-half year reign will almost certainly end in the next 48 hours.
It is anticipated Gerrard’s key allies at Ibrox – assistants Tommy Culshaw and Gary McAllister, first-team coach Michael Beale, who was last month the subject of interest from Cardiff, and head of performance Jordan Milsom would follow him.
It is unclear where that would leave existing Villa coaches Aaron Danks and Austin MacPhee, who were hired under Smith earlier this year, while goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler also remains from the Smith era. Smith’s assistant Craig Shakespeare left the club with him.
As Sportsmail reported last Sunday lunchtime, soon after Villa had announced Smith’s sacking, Gerrard was immediately prominent on their shortlist. Purslow’s connection with Gerrard dates back to the 57-year-old’s brief time as managing director at Anfield from 2009-10 and Gerrard quickly became the clear first choice.
Villa are 16th in the Premier League table, having lost their last five matches in a row
The potential move would see Gerrard back in the Premier League for the first time since his days as Liverpool captain
Roberto Martinez was an alternative to Gerrard on Villa’s list of targets but Sportsmail understands the Spaniard expressed reservations about the role, as he prepares to lead Belgium to next year’s World Cup. Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand also made clear this week his intention to continue in his current role.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank, who like Hjulmand has strong links to sporting director Johan Lange, was another considered, with out-of-work former Newcastle target Paulo Fonseca expressing interest in the Villa job.
Though the majority of Villa’s players were sad to see Smith depart after five successive defeats, Sportsmail understands the prospect of Gerrard arriving has been greeted with widespread excitement in the dressing room, with senior figures already aware of the need to make an immediate impression. Gerrard led Rangers to the Premiership crown last season, ending Celtic’s hopes of claiming 10 in a row.
Yet not everything has gone to plan for Rangers since they won their 55th Scottish title in spectacular style – they finished the season unbeaten – and Gerrard was frustrated about the club’s inability to strengthen ahead of a potential Champions League campaign. A defeat to Malmo in the qualifying rounds cost them a place in the group stages and they are competing in the Europa League once more.