Five Aston Villa manager options to restore Aston Villa’s pride
With every passing result, the Paul Lambert apologists have less of an argument, as his Villa side limps towards the end of the season. Lambert’s Villa record is unlikely to impress any new owners at Villa Park, if the mooted takeover becomes a reality.
The time for giving the benefit of the doubt has surely passed. This is a man that has overseen three records broken in two seasons of football. Unfortunately, those records – the heaviest Premier League era defeat, the most defeats in a Premier League season, and the highest number of home defeats in a season in Villa’s history – are not the desirable kind.
His brand of football is boring and many of his signings have proved disastrous. Villa deserve more. To prove it, here are five managers that could do a better job than Paul Lambert.
5. David Moyes
Moyes’ reputation might currently be strewn around his feet in tatters, but his failure at Manchester United is essentially irrelevant to Villa.
It’s his work at Everton that suggests that he’d be a good fit at Villa Park. Like Villa, the Merseysiders were a big club that were down on their luck when Moyes took charge. He transformed them into one of the Premier League’s top sides, thanks mainly to his ability to spot a bargain.
The likes of Mikel Arteta, Leighton Baines, Tim Cahill, Seamus Coleman, Sylvian Distin, Marouane Fellaini, Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Kevin Mirallas, Steven Pienaar and John Stones were all signed on Moyes’ watch. He is a proven master in the end of the transfer market in which Villa currently operate.
Update: Moyes seems content at Real Sociedad and would probably be keen to continue to rebuild his rep out of the glare of the English media
4. Michael Laudrup
Like Moyes, the former Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is another casualty of the trigger-happy tendencies of Premier League chairmen this season.
The sacking looked harsh considering that Laudrup’s debut season at Swansea was a very successful one, in which he steered the team to a ninth place finish and won the League Cup. Swansea’s subsequent qualification for the Europa League was always going to stretch a slight squad and you sense that Laudrup’s sacking was more down to personal issues between himself and his former chairman Huw Jenkins.
Laudrup’s sides play attractive football and signings such as Michu and Wilfried Bony have proved his ability in the transfer market.
Update: Currently manages Qatar side Lekhwiya
3. Jurgen Klinsmann
Another legendary player to have been linked with the Villa job is Jurgen Klinsmann. The current manager of the US national team, Klinsmann would bring a welcome hint of glamour to a club that have endured dour football for several seasons.
His name alone would make Villa a more attractive proposition for potential signings and though there are question marks over his managerial abilities, his supposed failures are often exaggerated.
It’s true that Klinsmann was sacked before the end of his one season in charge of Bayern Munich, but what is often forgotten is that they were only three points off the top of the Bundesliga with five games remaining, when the axe fell.
Similarly, Joachim Loew tends to get the credit for Germany’s success at the 2006 World Cup, as if Klinsmann was the first manager to rely upon a talented tactician within his coaching staff. In truth, Klinsmann’s restructuring of Germany’s setup from top to bottom, has been key to their revival in recent years. With the club’s American ownership, a move for Klinsmann could be likelier than it sounds and he’s now the bookies second favourite.
2. Murat Yakin
The Basel coach is one of Europe’s hottest properties, with his side winning the Swiss Super League last season and looking likely to defend their title.
If winning the Swiss league doesn’t impress you – and to be fair, Christian Gross has won six Swiss titles – then Yakin’s European record makes more interesting reading. Last season he guided Basel to a Europa League semi-final, knocking out Zenit and Tottenham while playing some thrilling football.
They were defeated by the eventual winners Chelsea, but got their revenge in the Champions League group stage, as Yakin masterminded two wins over Jose Mourinho’s side. Parachuting down into the Europa League, Basel went close to reaching the semi-finals for a second season, only to be eliminated at the quarter-final stage amidst a horrendous injury crisis.
Realistically, Yakin will surely struggle to achieve more than he already has with Basel, so a move to a top European league seems inevitable. With the likes of Lazio and Sampdoria being currently linked to Yakin, it would seem that Villa would have a realistic chance of tempting him to the Premier League.
Update: Joined Spartak Moscow in June 2014
1. Thomas Tuchel
One of the brightest managerial prospects in Germany, Thomas Tuchel has performed miracles at minnows Mainz 05, who look to have just fallen short of Champions League qualification this season.
Since being appointed as manager in 2009, only Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke – the Bundesliga’s big four – have accumulated more points. It’s an amazing achievement at a club that have a wage bill of just €20m per annum.
This is Tuchel’s first senior management job, having previously won the U19 Bundesliga with Stuttgart and Mainz. A tactically adaptable coach, Tuchel has created a successful system based on relentless pressing and fast counter-attacks.
It’s only a matter of time before Tuchel lands one of the top jobs in German football. While he’s waiting, a spell in England with a club like Villa that have massive potential, could prove the perfect stepping stone.
Update: He is currently on a year’s sabbatical after Mainz didn’t want to realise him from his contract, after he wanted to leave