Contenders to take charge at Aston Villa, Norwich

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Both Aston Villa and Norwich City are searching for a new boss and a lot of the same names are reportedly in the mix as the next manager odds are chopping and changing all of the time.

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Do Villa go with experience, or a young big-name manager? Steven Gerrard is reportedly being lined up for talks given the fine job he’s done at Glasgow Rangers.

What about Norwich, do they continue with their approach of developing young players or go for a battle-hardened coach who will keep them in the Premier League? It has been reported that Frank Lampard has already met with Norwich about the vacancy.

The big question: can Gerrard and Lampard both manage in the Premier League at the same time…

Jokes aside, below we take a look at the candidates for the jobs at Villa Park and Carrow Road, with the favorites with the next manager odds included as we also share our thoughts on who would be the best fit.


Aston Villa

Bookies’ favorites: Steven Gerrard, Roberto Martinez, Ralph Hasenhuttl, Paulo Fonseca, Kasper Hjulmand, Thomas Frank, Graham Potter, John Terry, Lucien Favre

Dream choice: Roberto Martinez

Most realistic option: Paulo Fonseca

Villa have huge financial backing and that will interest any manager. But there is a lot of pressure with that backing and the man to follow Dean Smith, a lifelong Villa fan who was loved by supporters, will not be easy. On paper, this Villa squad should be pushing for a top 10 finish. In reality, they are set for a relegation scrap if they can’t paper over the cracks and found some stability and confidence.

A motivator like Gerrard or Frank would be a very good choice but the most likely option is Fonseca who is out of work. Gerrard is the favorite with the next manager odds but he may not want to leave Glasgow Rangers at this point, even though his close friend Christian Purslow is Villa CEO and he is right at the top of their wish-list. Roberto Martinez may feel like now is a good time to step away from an ageing Belgium team. But would he do that less than 12 months before a World Cup? Villa really have to get this appointment right because otherwise they will be sucked into a relegation scrap with a squad which isn’t really suited to it. Martinez or Gerrard would be the best fit right now, but Villa may have to settle for Fonseca. I’d go for Martinez or Gerrard.


Norwich City

Bookies favorites: Frank Lampard, Dean Smith, Nuno Espirito Santo, Scott Parker, Steven Bruce, Ralph Hasenhuttl, Sam Allardyce, Roy Hodgson, Russell Martin

Dream choice: Ralph Hasenhuttl

Most realistic option: Frank Lampard

This appointment will have to be very different from Daniel Farke for the change to be justified. The German coach (who got the Canaries promoted on two occasions) was fired after the win at Brentford at the weekend but it doesn’t appear that Norwich have a replacement lined up. Frank Lampard seems the most likely appointment and reports suggest he’s already met with Norwich. He’s out of work and has proven he can get the best out of young talents, both at Derby County in the Championship and then setting some of the foundation for Thomas Tuchel’s success at Chelsea. But is Lamps really the man to drag Norwich out of a relegation scrap? There is talk that Norwich could go for Steve Bruce, Sam Allardyce or Roy Hodgson (to come out of retirement) to save them for one season, but that doesn’t seem likely. Former Norwich defender Russell Martin has done a good job at Swansea City but this seems a little early for him, but in the future he’s a good fit for their model.

Dean Smith and Nuno Espirito Santo have both become available and both have very good pedigrees in the Premier League and could easily argue they should still be in a job with a team in the top 10. Then there is Ralph Hasenhuttl, who Norwich reportedly want to come in but admit he would be very tough to pry away from Southampton. He is building a talented young squad at Saints and gets full say on everything that happens with the club. Hasenhuttl could work wonders with these young talents at Norwich and I’d go all-out for him, but Lampard seems most likely. Norwich will hope Lampard can use his contacts to bring in players in January and bring a totally fresh approach to their play. The only issue is: can Lampard improve them enough defensively to have a shot at staying up? If he can’t then maybe they should have stuck with Farke.