Next Aston Villa manager: Ex-Prem boss due for talks, as Pochettino concern opens door for superior fit

Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery

A former Premier League boss and Europa League winner is due for talks to become the next Aston Villa manager amid concerns over Mauricio Pochettino’s suitability, per reports.

Steven Gerrard paid the price for a dismal run of form that stretched all the way back to last season. The Liverpool legend was relieved of his duties at Villa Park on Thursday night. The 3-0 defeat to Fulham proved the last straw amid a fierce show on fan discontent.

Gerrard leaves Villa just one place outside of the relegation zone having failed to ignite their attacking players. At present, Villa are the league’s second lowest scorers with just seven goals. Only Wolves (five) have scored fewer.

The search for the next Aston Villa manager is already underway, with former Tottenham boss, Mauricio Pochettino, an early favourite with the bookies.

However, a recent report from Football Insider hinted why Villa – and perhaps Pochettino too – will show caution in that regard.

The Argentine likes to implement a high intensity press and his midfielders and forwards are key to his system thriving.

They claimed four players in particular are of concern to Pochettino – Philippe Coutinho, Emiliano Buendia, Douglas Luiz and Danny Ings.

Whether they’d be suitable fits for what Pochettino demands is open to debate. As such, a new report from the same outlet has brought news of a different candidate who appears a better fit. What’s more, it’s claimed he’s due for talks.

Next Aston Villa manager a familiar one?

They state Aston Villa are ‘planning to hold talks’ with Villarreal boss, Unai Emery.

The former Arsenal manager, 50, deploys a counterattacking style that has served the Yellow Submarine well of late, especially in Europe.

Emery guided Villarreal to the Europa League title in 2021, sinking Manchester United in the final. The following season saw Villarreal advance to the Champions League semi-finals after knocking out both Juventus and Bayern Munich on route.

Emery’s tactics are deemed a far more suitable fit to the players Aston Villa currently have on their books. He’s also been named as a contender for the vacant position by the PA news agency.

Emery didn’t enjoy the best of times during his last stint in England with Arsenal. However, succeeding Arsene Wenger was always going to be tough.

He’s rebounded superbly at Villarreal and showed loyalty when snubbing Newcastle’s approach when they sacked Steve Bruce last year.

Whether Emery would now be more receptive to a return to England isn’t clear. But if he is, it’s claimed his contract with Villarreal does contain a release clause that can be triggered.

Who else is in the frame?

Aside from Pochettino and Emery, the likes of Michael Beale, Sean Dyche and Thomas Frank are all flying high in the latest odds.

Beale is working wonders at QPR, though as a former assistant manager to Steven Gerrard, Villa may seek a clean break from the last regime altogether.

Dyche would represent a safe pair of hands if Villa believe they’re already in a relegation scrap. Frank has been lauded for his impact with the Bees and moving to Villa would finally give him a greater budget to work with in the transfer market.

But at present, the odds-on favourite is Mauricio Pochettino. Upcoming talks with Emery may change that.

READ MORE: Steven Gerrard sack: Pundits name two major reasons that forced Aston Villa to act; big-name replacement talked up