Rangers boss Steven Gerrard now on Aston Villa’s list of targets to replace Dean Smith after he was sacked following five successive defeats
- Aston Villa sacked Dean Smith on Sunday after three years in charge of the club
- They have lost five games on the spin and are two clear of the relegation zone
- Co-owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens are drawing up a list of candidates
- Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is said to be prominent on the list of targets
Steven Gerrard is prominent on Aston Villa’s list of possible targets after Dean Smith was sacked on Sunday.
Smith’s reign was brought to an end after five successive defeats, the latest of which was at Southampton on Friday. He leaves with Villa 15th in the table.
The 50-year-old was called to a meeting with chief executive Christian Purslow at the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground around lunchtime on Sunday, where he was informed he would be dismissed.
He had a little less than two years to run on a four-year deal and will be compensated as per the terms of that contract.
Steven Gerrard (left) is on Aston Villa’s list of targets to replace sacked boss Dean Smith (right)
The previous day, co-owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens had held discussions with Purslow and sporting director Johan Lange.
Smith’s assistant Craig Shakespeare is also thought to have left Villa, which suggests the new head coach will be appointed relatively swiftly. Shakespeare has managed Leicester in the Premier League and Champions League and would have been an ideal interim candidate had the board favoured a longer recruitment process.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is another who has admirers at Villa Park while Lange has a long association with both Brentford boss Thomas Frank and Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand. Lucien Favre, the former Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach coach, is also unattached and keen to work in England, as is ex-Roma boss Paulo Fonseca.
Villa co-owner Wes Edens (left) is already eyeing candidates to replace sacked Smith
Gerrard is admired by key figures in the Villa hierarchy, who are impressed by the job he has done at Rangers, though the former Liverpool and England captain is under contract at Ibrox until 2024 and the Scottish giants would fight hard to keep him.
After taking over at Rangers in 2018, the 41-year-old won the Scottish Premiership title last season, breaking Celtic’s sequence of nine in a row, and reached the last 16 of the Europa League.
This term, Gerrard’s men are top of the Scottish Premiership of the table, although they were eliminated by Malmo in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.
Gerrard would not be the only name in the frame with joint owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, chief executive Christian Purslow – who knows Gerrard from his time as Liverpool chief executive– and sporting director Johan Lange all having input.