Favourite for Aston Villa job is best possible appointment

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A surprise new name has emerged as favourite for the vacant Aston Villa job, with Roberto Di Matteo being touted as Remi Garde’s successor.

The Italian is priced at 1/1 to be the next Villa manager and those in the boardroom would be wise to follow the odds.

Winning the Champions League and FA Cup while in the Chelsea dugout, although considered a fluke by many given that he took over as caretaker in March, highlights the former midfielder’s managerial credentials.

He followed this up with a spell at Schalke last season, but ultimately his time in Germany was unsuccessful after poor late form cost Die Königsblauen the chance to qualify for Europe’s top club competition.

However, neither of these stewardships should be used to judge his validity for the Villa Park hot seat.

Instead, it would be more worthwhile to look at his time in charge of fellow Midlanders West Bromwich Albion.

When Di Matteo made the Hawthorns his home back in June 2009, the Baggies were preparing for life in the Championship after finishing bottom of the Premier League in the previous campaign.

The 45-year-old set about rebuilding Albion in his image, getting rid of players not up to the task such as Shelton Martis and Sherjill MacDonald, while bringing in worthwhile replacements.

Youssouf Mulumbu was signed by the former MK Dons gaffer and went on to make 211 appearances for the club before leaving for Norwich last summer.

The Baggies went on to finish second in the Championship and made it back to the top flight on the first attempt.

Since then, West Brom have never been relegated and it’s clear that Di Matteo laid a solid foundation for the likes of Roy Hodgson and Tony Pulis to build on.

The Villans won’t want to make the second tier their long-term home and bringing in the Champions League winner would arrest the decline of the historically big club.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dan Ross

After a brief stint as a commentator, Dan took his passion for football into writing and went on to gain an NCTJ in sports journalism. A lifelong Walsall fan, he's followed the Saddlers through the highs, getting to Wembley for the first time ever last season, and the lows, namely relegation to League Two in 2006.