Six possible next manager choices for Aston Villa to replace sacked Dean Smith

There has been a chain reaction of sackings across the Premier League over the past few weeks, as Steve Bruce's inevitable departure was closely followed by the dismissal of Nuno Espirito Santo.

Daniel Farke was given his marching orders by Norwich despite finally leading them to their first win of the season, and just as fans were getting to grips with his exit, Dean Smith was axed a day later.

Aston Villa's 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Friday was their fifth successive loss in the Premier League, and Smith was given his marching orders on Sunday by the Villa hierarchy.

As with any managerial sacking, speculation grows over who is next in line to take the hot seat, and with the excellent opportunity that the Villa job offers, multiple high-profile names have been tipped to replace Smith.

Here Daily Star Sport assesses six potential choices that could replace Smith and takeover at Villa.

John Terry

On top of dealing with the exit of Jack Grealish, and dealing with injuries to Leon Bailey and Danny Ings who were brought in as replacements, Villa have not been the same since John Terry left his role as assistant manager.

Smith's side had struggled without his influence, and the Chelsea legend left the club to pursue his first senior role in management.

It would be rather poetic for Terry to take on the Villa role after previously being employed as Smith's no.2, and it would also make some sense too for a first role.

Terry not only knows the club, he knows a lot of the first team, and understands how things are run at Villa due to his influence on the pitch and behind the scenes.

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard has excelled as Rangers manager since arriving in Glasgow back in 2018, and because of that success, he continues to be linked with a multitude of roles in England.

The Liverpool legend was one of the names discussed to replace Bruce at Newcastle and lead the rebuild, but according to The Telegraph, Villa are considering Gerrard as a replacement for Smith.

Gerrard is reportedly happy at Rangers, and has even been urged by former Liverpool teammate Jamie Carragher to remain in Scotland until at least the end of the season, but the proposition could appear too appealing to turn down.

However, if Gerrard wasn't tempted by the magnitude of Newcastle, it remains unlikely that he will opt for Villa either.

Ralph Hassenhuttl

Ralph Hassenhuttl put the final nail in the coffin for Smith, and it was his Southampton side that beat Villa 1-0 just days before the now-former Villa boss was axed by the club.

An appointment for Hassenhuttl would be a biter blow for Smith, and there would be a sense of irony that the Austrian could trade spots thanks to his side's performance that put his potential predecessor out of a job.

As well as Gerrard, The Telegraph claims that Hassenhuttl is the other candidate that Villa are considering, and his Premier League experience could put him ahead of the Rangers boss in the pecking order.

However, Hassenhuttl has also struggled at times with Southampton, and his job has been under threat on many occasions.

Kasper Hjulmand

Kasper Hjulmand may not be a household name, but England fans may remember him as the manager of Denmark, who the Three Lions faced in the semi-finals of Euro 2020 this summer.

Despite losing their first two group games, and having to deal with the collapse of Christian Eriksen, Denmark made the semi-final despite all the odds, and they have already qualified for the World Cup in 2022.

Denmark have won each of their eight qualifiers, and have progressed with games to spare, and Hjulmand is attracting interest from across Europe.

According to the Sun, Hjulmand’s potential and brand of football has admirers at Villa Park, and he is on their watch list.

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Paulo Fonseca

Paulo Fonseca has been linked with almost every Premier League job since the end of last season, and Tottenham fans were convinced that the Italian was set to be appointed prior to Nuno Espirito Santo.

However, the former Wolves boss was handed the job and has already walked after 124 days, and Fonseca was also overlooked by Newcaste who look set to appoint Eddie Howe.

The 48-year-old left Roma in 2021 and was replaced by former Spurs boss Jose Mourinho in the managerial merry-go-round, but perhaps the Villa vacancy could spell third-time lucky for the Italian.

Fonseca has been commended for his attacking style of play, which could be a good fit at Villa with so many options going forward.

Graham Potter

Graham Potter has started the season off in fine form with Brighton, and his side sit in seventh place after only suffering two defeats.

His style of play has been admired by many fans and even fellow coaches across the Premier League, and his side stunned Liverpool last week as they fought back from 2-0 down to earn a point at Anfield.

Potter has been linked with a step up, and was even mentioned as a potential replacement for Espirito Santo at Spurs, and was even mentioned as a candidate for if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked by Manchester United.

However, with his side performing so well, it would be unlikely that the Brighton boss would jump ship mid season.

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