The Blues’ boss: Gary Rowett
Gary Rowett is a Villa fan. A Villa fan who is currently doing a remarkable job across the city. Having been minutes away from relegation to League One under Lee Clark, Rowett came in to manage a struggling side and quickly turned them around, they ended up finishing 10th.
This season they find themselves in a largely similar position but with a chance of a play off place.
Given the financial restraints of the job, Rowett’s coaching prowess is visible for all to see. His sides tend to favour rapid, transitional play and his in game formations often fluctuate to try and exploit space on the break wherever possible. He has admitted his Birmingham side have struggled to break down teams who sit in deep against them, something Villa may face next season.
The last cross city appointment wasn’t particularly popular, but with the Blues having found a talented young tactician in Rowett, would it not be doubly sweet to steal their prized asset from them?
Another ex Birmingham boss: Chris Hughton
Having secured Newcastle’s safe passage back into the big time at the first attempt and the Villa job would appear to be a similar job in many aspects. He was sacked at Newcastle despite an 11th placed position at the time. He took Birmingham to 4th place in the league and lost in the play offs to Blackpool. He then took over at Norwich and secured a mid table Premier League position in his initial season in charge.
This season he has steered Brighton into the play off positions whilst remaining candidates for an automatic promotion spot, just a season after they were struggling to retain their status in the league.
Not necessarily playing the most exciting brand of football, Hughton’s style relies on a solid defensive foundation and good organisation deployed in his preferred 4-4-2. His wealth of Championship experience, with no notable failures, makes him a decent shout for the role but may he already be in the Premier League come the end of the season?
An unlikely, left-field appointment: Nuno Espírito Santo
The Portuguese coach’s ascent up the managerial ladder has faltered following his mid-season sacking at Valencia.
The season before though, he had successfully guided the Spanish giants back into the Champions League, beating Real Madrid with an astute tactical display and losing fewer games than them in the league.
Inheriting a fractured dressing room that had finished 8th, Valencia finished the season 4th with a staggering 77 points.
Before this, he enjoyed a successful spell at Rio Ave in Portugal, taking the outsiders to two domestic cup finals and into the Europa League, for the first time in their history.
However, their league campaign that season was mediocre with the club joint second bottom for goals scored.
Could he mend a fractured dressing room at Villa Park? He’s certainly worth proper consideration.
One off the list: Murat Yakin
Yakin was on last year’s list but was unavailable at the time. He’d just been appointed Spartak Moscow manager but his stay in Russia was cut short with the team missing out on Europe thanks to a 6th place finish; losing out to Krasnodar on their head to head record.
He was managerial hot property before that appointment, drawing plaudits from the likes of Jose Mourinho, having beaten his Chelsea team home and away in the Champions League. Although his domestic success was expected with Basel, it wasn’t at Luzern, a team he took to second place in the league; their highest finish in 23 years.
At Basel, despite hard luck with injuries and the consistent loss of top players to other clubs, Yakin demonstrated tactical nous and flexibility switching between a fluid 4-2-3-1 and a 4-1-4-1 for bigger matches. Only 41, he has nearly a decade’s worth of coaching experience behind him, could he be lured to Villa Park?
There is no shortage of suitable candidates for the role, even beyond this list, whether the board identify any of these is another matter entirely.
Who do you fancy for the role, if Rémi Garde decided it was time to move on? Villa haven’t got the manager role right for a long time now and the feeling is, Villa’s next manager will be a vital one.
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