Steven Gerrard is reportedly open to leaving Rangers midway through the season to move to the Premier League. The England legend has been linked with the Aston Villa job which has been vacant since Dean Smith’s sacking on Sunday.
Smith had overseen five successive top-flight defeats and was shown the door following a dismal 1-0 reverse against Southampton.
Villa have not won a Premier League match since beating Manchester United at the end of September.
The Midlands outfit spent well over £100million in the summer on new talent. The likes of Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Emi Buendia all arrived at Villa Park in the hope of securing European football.
But Jack Grealish’s £100m departure to Manchester City has had an impact. Villa’s record without their former captain was poor when he was at the club, and his exit is likely to have been felt.
Smith had been in charge since 2018 and guided his boyhood club out of the Championship via the play-offs in his first season. He kept them up in their first year back in the top-flight before securing an 11th-place finish last term. However, the 50-year-old lost his job after a poor start to the new campaign.
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Liverpool icon Gerrard has been linked with several jobs in the last couple of years. He was one of the early favourites to succeed Steve Bruce at Newcastle but ruled himself out of the running.
But rumours suggesting that he will replace Smith at Villa have been strong and persistent. Now, Sky Sports are reporting that the former Three Lions captain is ‘open’ to a Premier League return, with Villa preparing to make their move within the next 24-48 hours
It could mean a bitter exit from Rangers, where Gerrard has enjoyed so much success in his two and a half years in charge.
The 41-year-old guided them to the Scottish Premiership title last season and is on course to retain the trophy this term.
Rangers lead the top-flight by four points, with Celtic trailing on 26 points.
Gerrard is yet to manage in the Premier League despite a successful career in England. The English league title famously evaded him during his playing days but he won nine major honours during his time with Liverpool.
He departed Anfield in 2015 to join LA Galaxy before retiring a year later. A short stint in charge of Liverpool’s academy team followed before he was appointed as Rangers boss in 2018.
Gerrard’s former Liverpool team-mate Jamie Carragher believes a ‘perfect world’ would be for the ex-midfielder to continue with Rangers until the end of the season.
However, he conceded that his close friend will be attracted by the Villa job.
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“I think Aston Villa as a club would be a great move for Steven Gerrard,” he told Sky Sports.
“But the situation he finds himself in right now is he’s taken the title off Celtic last season and he’s in a great position to win it again.
“I think, in a perfect world, you want to stay at Rangers until the end of the season and come away from there with two titles.”
Gerrard was asked in March if he will ever return to manage his boyhood club. The 2005 Champions League winner said: “The Liverpool fans don’t want me to be the manager of Liverpool Football Club. They want Jurgen Klopp.
“Is it a dream for me to, one day, be the Liverpool manager? Yes, it is. But not yet.”