Aston Villa set sights on Steve Bruce and David Wagnerby Jack Kitson / 04 October 2016, 10:56
Aston Villa have begun their search for a sixth manager in the last year after dispensing of Roberto Di Matteo, who became the first victim of the Championship Sack Race on Monday. According to reports from the Daily Telegraph the managerless Midlands club are chasing both the out-of-work Steve Bruce and Huddersfield gaffer David Wagner. We assess each gaffers’ credentials below.
- Villa have only won four of their last 51 league games.
- Villa are without a win in nine matches.
- Villa haven’t won away from home since the opening day of last season.
For a manager that’s out-of-work Steve Bruce has received a lorry load of attention throughout the last week. The veteran gaffer has been linked with the England national team, soon-to-be-managerless Derby County, and now Aston Villa - emerging as the instant 11/10 favourite (Sky Bet) for the latter in the aftermath of Di Matteo’s departure.
Villa are in desperate need of a pick me up following their nervous start to the season, which has seen the club drop a host of points from winning positions. As a result the Midlands outfit have managed to win just one of their opening 11 league games, leaving them down in 19th, just two points above the relegation zone.
The fact that Villa are already 10 points adrift of the play-offs, and a further three off the top-2 is alarming for a club who began the season as the second favourites behind Newcastle.
However, it’s still early days in the Championship and history tells us that a winning run can shoot a club from the deep depths of despair right up into top-6 contention. With Bruce at the helm - a man who has won four promotions up to the top-flight - spirits would no doubt be lifted, and the club could set about eating up that deficit.
At the moment there are two things preventing this move. One, is Bruce is no doubt keen to still manage his country, and he may insist on waiting to see how the Gareth Southgate experiment pans out.
And two, he’s a former manager of Villa’s fierce rivals Birmingham, meaning an appointment would not go down well with many supporters…remember how the Alex McLeish appointment panned out…..
David Wagner’s reputation has soared to an all-time high following Huddersfield’s blistering start to the campaign. The in-form Terriers have roared out of the blocks, accumulating 25 points from their opening 11 games, and this sort of form has caught the attention of Villa chiefs who are now eager to open talks with the German.
According to The Guardian Wagner is believed to be Villa’s first choice, with Xia extremely keen to lure Wagner away from high-flying Huddersfield. However, as the 44-year-old is currently in employment it will cost Villa over £1million in compensation, although you get the feeling this is just pocket change for owner Tony Xia.
Prior to his arrival in England last November Wagner spent four years working alongside best bud Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, but it’s safe to say he’s now emerged from Klopp’s shadow.
Villa may be a massive club, with cash to splash, but Wagner is a hugely popular figure at Huddersfield, and he now has a chance to stamp his name in the club’s history books by leading the Yorkshire outfit into the top-flight for the first time since 1972.