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Aston Villa: Steven Gerrard and Paulo Fonseca linked with manager's job, as Dean Smith heads sack race odds

Steven Gerrard
(Image credit: PA)

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard and recent Newcastle United rumour Paulo Fonseca have both been touted to become the next Aston Villa manager, following Dean Smith's poor run of form.

Villa have lost the last four games on the spin, with pressure mounting around Smith, who guided the club back up to the Premier League in 2019 and kept them there in 2020. Following the sale of Jack Grealish to Manchester City in the summer, Villa have struggled for form, leading to rumours that the board may be about to dispense of the manager.

The club's owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, are backing Smith to put things right - but according to the Daily Mail, Fonseca may be drafted in if things turn south.

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Fonseca transformed Shakhtar Donetsk during a spell in Ukraine and most recently took charge of Roma, leading them to the Europe League semi-final last season - where they were beaten by Manchester United.

Fonseca was most recently linked with the vacant position at Newcastle United - and appeared to be the frontrunner before Villarreal and former Arsenal and PSG coach Unai Emery stole a march in the running. 

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Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has also emerged as a potential name for the role in recent weeks, with Chris Sutton talking up the Liverpool legend as a good fit for the club on BBC Radio Five Live.

Gerrard has a contract under 2024 and with talk of him one day replacing Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, he would be a surprise name - but equally, he has done an excellent at Rangers and plays a progressive style of play.

Aston Villa travel to Southampton in the Premier League this Friday night.