Dean Smith is out as Aston Villa boss as their poor start to the season has cost the lifelong Villa fan his job.
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Aston Villa have lost five-straight Premier League games and Smith was under pressure after spending big in the summer following the departure of captain and talisman Jack Grealish to Manchester City for $134 million.
Smith had been in charge at Villa for just over three years as he got them promoted from the Championship via the playoffs in his first season in charge and then stabilized them in the Premier League over the last two seasons, as well as reaching a League Cup final.
However, after a poor second half of last season and a slow start to this campaign, Villa have been ruthless to remove Smith. He becomes the fifth Premier League manager to lose his job this season and we are just 11 games into the campaign.
Villa have 10 points from their first 11 games of the season and the Midlands club say ‘the process of replacing Dean will now begin and the club will update supporters in due course.’
Here is more from the Aston Villa statement:
CEO Christian Purslow said: “When Dean joined us in October 2018 our team was really struggling in The Championship. He immediately transformed the atmosphere and performances and achieved the ultimate success of leading Villa back to the Premier League within the same season – a rare feat.
Thank you for the memories, Dean. pic.twitter.com/PfcSpncqHh
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) November 7, 2021
“He then secured our place in the Premier League after a tough campaign and took us to a Cup Final at Wembley.
“However, after a good start to last season, this year we have not seen the continuous improvement in results, performances and league position which we have all been looking for. For this reason we have decided to make a change now to allow time for a new head coach to make an impact.
“The Board would like to sincerely thank Dean for his many excellent achievements, on and off the pitch, during this time. Everyone knows how much Aston Villa means to Dean and his family. He has represented the Club with distinction and dignity – universally liked and respected by everybody associated with Aston Villa – our staff, players and supporters alike. We wish him the very best.”
Smith will not be surprised by this. His idea just didn’t seem to excite this group of players and despite doing a great job to get Villa in the Premier League, things have stagnated.
Sometimes it is best for all parties to move on, but this will be tough for Smith who is a lifelong Villa fan.
Villa’s owners have spent big and expect to be in the top 10 of the Premier League, at the very least.
In the calendar year of 2021 they’ve struggled but there is a very good squad at Villa Park. Emiliano Martinez, Tyrone Mings, Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Leon Bailey, Emiliano Buendia, Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins are all international players.
Whoever replaces Smith will firstly try to push them away from the relegation zone, but the aim will be to push for a top 10 finish.
With Norwich City sacking Daniel Farke, plus Eddie Howe coming in at Newcastle and Claudio Ranieri coming in at Watford, plenty of the teams around Villa have already made moves.
It will be intriguing to see who Villa bring in, as the likes of Paulo Fonseca (the favorite), Nuno Espirito Santo, Ronald Koeman and Frank Lampard are all available.
Kasper Hjulmand, Ralph Hasenhuttl, Thomas Frank and Steven Gerrard are all targets, according to a report from The Telegraph.
Perhaps former Villa assistant, John Terry, could replace Smith?
Given the resources they have, money will be available to enhance this squad in key areas but the main thing Villa will need is defensive stability and to give this talented squad fresh ideas.
Fonseca seems like the smart bet for Villa, but if they could entice Frank, Gerrard or Hasenhuttl to leave their current jobs, that would surely help them build a long-term project and bring a fresh approach to the Midlands giant.