Dean Smith was sacked as the manager of Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon after his side recorded five losses in their last five games.
Friday evening’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton was the final game in charge for Smith. He departs after more than three years in charge of the club.
Smith will undoubtedly prove a tough act to follow. He guided Villa to promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs in his first season. He then kept the club in the top flight the following campaign, before guiding them to an 11th-place finish last season.
Villa currently sit 16th in the Premier League, having recorded 10 points from 11 games.
All the talk has now shifted to who will replace him – and the odds are changing all the time. Let’s take a look at some of the major contenders to take over as the next Aston Villa manager:
(All odds via Oddschecker and correct at the time of writing)
Steven Gerrard (Rangers)
Lowest odds: 15/8 (Betfred)
Steven Gerrard is another name that has been linked with Villa since the news of Smith’s departure broke.
The former Liverpool midfielder has undoubtedly done an impressive job at Rangers – his first managerial role. He ended the long-time Celtic hegemony in the Scottish Premiership, with his side storming to the title by 20 points.
Rangers have also started this season well. They have 30 points from 13 games – four ahead of second-placed Celtic.
There has been plenty of debate over whether Gerrard can one day take over at Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp eventually departs. A club of the size and stature of Aston Villa could be a great option.
Roberto Martinez (Belgium)
Lowest odds: 9/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair)
Three months after being sacked by Everton, Roberto Martinez was appointed Belgium national team coach.
Martinez was linked heavily with the Barcelona job before it went to club legend Xavi Hernandez. His teams generally play with plenty of possession and on the front foot, and he has also occasionally used a three-man defence in the past – a style which Smith used in the last weeks of his Villa reign.
Paulo Fonseca (Unattached)
Lowest odds: 10/1 (Bet Victor)
It seems like Paulo Fonseca has been linked with every Premier League job going in the last few weeks, so it’s no surprise that he’s one of the favourites to be the next Aston Villa manager.
Fonseca is another manager that prefers a possession-orientated style. He also likes his teams to attack and play offensively.
He is also currently out of work, having departed Roma in May. Before that, he spent a successful period in Ukraine managing Shakhtar Donetsk. Under Fonseca, Shakhtar won seven trophies in three years.
Frank Lampard (Unattached)
Lowest odds: 12/1 (Various)
The second unattached manager on this list, Frank Lampard, has been out of work since being dismissed by Chelsea back in January.
One of Lampard’s main strengths as Blues manager was in bringing through talented young prospects. Reece James, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were all given opportunities by Lampard and now thrive at Chelsea or other clubs.
That academy focus is something Aston Villa share with Chelsea. Cameron Archer, Jacob Ramsey and Carney Chukwuemeka have all been given senior debuts by Dean Smith and have impressed at different times.
Lampard can significantly influence that area, whilst his experience as manager of Chelsea will almost certainly help him in the long term.
John Terry (Unattached)
Lowest odds: 12/1 (Various)
John Terry departed his role as Aston Villa’s assistant manager in the summer. He told the club’s official website that he wanted to “move into football management”.
The 40-year-old is yet to manage a club, so joining Villa may be seen as being somewhat thrown in at the deep end. But Terry has an excellent knowledge of the club’s players.
One of Terry’s reportedly key contributions was improving Villa’s defence. Last season, they kept six clean sheets in their opening 11 games. That figure is down to three this campaign.
With Villa leaking goals defensively and desperate to end a five-game losing streak, Terry could be the man to be the next Aston Villa manager.
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