Villa confident of Houllier appointment with new role for MacDonald
Monday 06 September 2010
Aston Villa hope to appoint Gerard Houllier as successor to Martin O'Neill in the next 48 hours. Houllier is spending the weekend deciding whether to return to Premier League management after a six-year absence.
He has emerged as the preferred option for Villa owner Randy Lerner, who is keen to make an appointment sooner rather than later. Houllier was interviewed for the post last week – along with the likes of caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald and former West Ham manager Alan Curbishley.
The indications are that former Liverpool manager Houllier would not be against joining Villa in a traditional managerial type of role, but MacDonald's coaching skills are highly rated by Lerner and the Villa players and he could still have a role with the first team.
Houllier gave little away on his future when questioned after attending Jamie Carragher's testimonial at Anfield yesterday. He is currently France's technical director but has come under fire after their disappointing World Cup campaign and may welcome a change.
Houllier, who was 63 last week, left Anfield six years ago and has been employed as his country's technical director since parting company with Lyons in 2007. He led the Reds to a Uefa Cup, FA Cup and League Cup treble in 2001. Houllier also enjoyed title success with Paris St Germain and spent a decade overseeing the development of French football before moving to Liverpool.
There have been question marks raised over Houllier's health after he suffered heart problems during the latter part of his time with Liverpool. But he has apparently assured Villa they would have no cause for concern.
Lerner wants to make an appointment soon, to ensure the new manager has time with the players before the match at Stoke on 13 September and Villa believe Houllier has the resume to build on their three successive top-six finishes in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Birmingham City have re-opened talks with midfielder Sebastian Larsson over a new contract. The Swedish international could not make his mind up on his future even after City returned to the top flight. As a result, Blues took up a 12-month option on his current contract which will run out next summer. If the two parties cannot reach an agreement, then Larsson will be free to talk to interested parties in January and possibly sign a pre-contract agreement.
Latest in Sport
Anthony Martial: 'It's normal Wayne Rooney doesn't know who I am..and it's up to me to justify €80m price tag'
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Pavement The Forum, London
Arsene Wenger uses Anthony Martial's €80m move to Manchester United to defend Arsenal's transfer inactivity this summer
Anthony Martial: Monaco say Manchester United's £36m offer was 'incredible'
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 5 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up