Just days after Stiliyan Petrov highlighted that he was looking forward to the stability that the appointment of Gerard Houllier would bring to Aston Villa, the new boss has been slightly controversial with his first appointment.
Houllier has opted to recruit Robert Duverne, who he has previously worked alongside at Lyon and is the famed French coach who hit the headlines during the World Cup for having a bust up with Patrice Evra.
Duverne is known for having a no nonsense attitude, which could have a positive bearing on Villa on the training ground or end up being a hindrance on morale.
Villa’s next game is at home to Bolton, which they are 4/5 to win, but it is unlikely that Duverne will join the backroom staff in time, particularly as Houllier will not take charge until after the fixture.
Meanwhile, Houllier’s search for an assistant boss is yet to be resolved as three of his leading candidates have turned down the role.
Kevin MacDonald, who has led Villa on a caretaker basis this season, is appreciated and admired by the players but would rather return to managing the reserve team.
He has also been linked with a move away from Villa, which would be a major blow because of his extensive knowledge of the club and the success he has had with grooming many of their rising stars.
Houllier has additionally been unsuccessful in bringing in former Liverpool number two Phil Thompson who is reluctant to give up his job as a television pundit and uproot his family, while Patrice Bergues has rejected on the grounds of personal reasons.
This has led to Gary McAllister to emerge as a contender for the post, with Villa currently 250/1 to win the Premier League this season.
Villa have lost both of their away games this season and a poor run of home results could see them fighting relegation, for which they are 25/1. See the whole Premier League relegation market.