Aston Villa parted company with Head Coach Dean Smith on Sunday after three years in charge at Villa Park.
And whilst tributes poured in for the self-confessed Villan throughout the weekend - Monday brings a new week and with that, attention turns towards the search for the new man.
Whoever comes in has one hell of a job ahead of them. The Villa hierarchy demand success and they demand it now - hence why a popular figure like Smith was given the boot. Results weren’t up to scratch and expectations simply weren’t being met.
If they are to back-up their ambitions for the club, you’d expect big names to be firmly atop of the list. Replacing a popular man that cared deeply for Villa in Smith with an inexperienced manager would make little sense, you’d think?
But no manager, regardless of prior accomplishments, can guarantee success. It’s a tough appointment for Christian Purslow and co and it’s one they need to get right.
According to the bookmakers, here are the favourites to take the reins at Villa Park.
Steven Gerrard - 10/11 fav
The former England and Liverpool captain is now firm favourite for the role and as of Monday morning has dipped below evens.
Gerrard is currently managing Rangers in the Scottish Premier League and though this is the first managerial position of his career, he’s doing an unbelievable job.
He led Rangers to their first league title in a decade and did so without losing a single game in the 2020/21 season.
The Gers currently sit top of the SPL once more and have every chance of making it back-to-back league titles if Gerrard is to stay in the role.
It would be a strange appointment for Villa to make considering their win-now attitude. The 41-year-old has zero Premier League managerial experience to his name and though he would have every chance to be a success, it seems an unnecessary risk to take.
Not only that but if he does become a huge hit, there will always be the nagging feeling for the Villa faithful that he will jump ship and take the Liverpool job at the first given opportunity.
John Terry - 7/1
Terry is well known already at Villa Park. He finished up his playing career there and was also assistant Head Coach to Dean Smith between 2018 and 2021 where he left prior to this season getting underway.
The former defender was a popular figure among the Villa faithful and many believe he’s a big part to the success the club endured during those three years. There are also those among the fanbase that say a lot of the recent failings were down to losing a pivotal part of the coaching team in Terry.
But like Gerrard, he has no first team managerial experience in the Premier League. In fact, his first team managerial experience at any professional level is nil.
As much as he was liked during his previous stints, I don’t think his appointment as first team Head Coach would sit well with too many.
Paulo Fonseca - 8/1
This is a man with an interesting CV.
Recently linked with the Newcastle United job after their Billionaire takeover and Tottenham Hotspur, Fonseca was latterly Head Coach of Roma in Serie A.
Still only 48-years-old, the Portuguese manager has vast experience in the role already having coached some big name European giants including Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk & the aforementioned Roma.
His win percentage at the three is highly impressive, boasting over 50% at all three including a ridiculous 74.10% record in Ukraine.
Fonseca has of course, no Premier League managerial experience, but he would be a statement name to bring to the club.
Roberto Martinez - 8/1
Most will be aware of Martinez from his Premier League managerial days with both Wigan Athletic and Everton.
Whilst his record isn’t awful, it isn’t great either. And he does have a relegation on his CV with Wigan - something that no Villa fan wants to see.
No disrespect to the two clubs but he has since gone on to bigger and better things managing the Belgium national team, guiding them to the number one ranked team in the world - despite not actually winning any silverware in that time.
His style of football is very much “attack is the best form of defence” which would suit Villa down to the ground but is he the man to take the club to the next step? I’d rather steer clear.
Kasper Hjulmand - 10/1
Hjulmand was a name that came completley out of the left-field but almost immediately became favourite for the job after the news broke of Smith’s sacking.
Since then he has dropped down the list but is still being touted as one of the names in the mix.
The 49-year-old is currently the manager of the Denmark national team and did a fantastic job with them in the most recent tournament - losing out to England in the semi-finals of Euro 2020.
Prior to that, he was Head Coach of FC Nordsjælland in Denmark and FSV Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga.
His record at club level isn’t anything to shout about, having had a 20.83% win percentage at Mainz 05 before following that up with a 38.05% one with Nordsjælland but his international one has been fantastic.
Hjulmand has won 17 out of 24 games with Denmark but his appointment, judging by his club career would be one of a huge risk for Purslow & co.
Next Aston Villa manager odds:
- Steven Gerrard -10/11
- John Terry - 7/1
- Paulo Fonseca - 8/1
- Roberto Martinez - 8/1
- Kasper Hjulmand - 10/1
- Frank Lampard - 12/1
- Graham Potter - 12/1
- Ralph Hassenhuttl - 14/1
- Lucien Favre - 20/1
- Nuno Espirito Santo - 20/1
- Thomas Frank - 20/1
- Andre Villas-Boas - 25/1
- Ronald Koeman - 25/1
- Diego Martinez - 33/1
- Joachim Lowe - 33/1
- Ruben Amorim - 33/1
- Unai Emery - 33/1
- Daniel Farke - 40/1
- Sam Allardyce - 40/1
- Steve Bruce - 40/1
- Stale Solbakken - 40/1
- Thierry Henry - 40/1
- Zinedine Zidane - 40/1
Who would you like to see take the reins at Villa Park? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @BhamWorld_