Profiling the shock frontrunner to be Aston Villa’s new boss

If Tim Sherwood’s departure at Aston Villa was expected after the club collected just four Premier League points from their opening 10 games, the man heading the betting to succeed the walking sound bite is anything but.

David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers were the widely-assumed front runners for the Villa Park post in the weeks before Sherwood’s sacking, but both find themselves behind former Lyon boss Remi Garde in Ladbrokes’ betting.

Reports suggest the Midlands club are in advanced talks with the Frenchman and 1/3 about him taking over suggests the news holds credence.

His rather left-field appearance in the Premier League may surprise some, but in many ways his appointment makes sense for the 4/9 relegation candidates.

To date the former Arsenal midfielder’s only backroom positions have come at Lyon, where he coached, oversaw the academy and eventually managed the first team after playing there for six years.

Garde’s appointment as head honcho, at the start of the 2011/12 season, coincided with Lyon’s move towards a more conservative spending approach and throughout his tenure Les Gones sold their stars.

Jeremy Toulalan, Miralem Pjanic, Hugo Lloris and Kim Kallstrom are just a few of the international-level players that departed the Stade der Gerland while Garde was in charge, leaving him little choice but to rely on youth.

That a number of Lyon’s current first-team regulars – Alexandre Lacazette the most high profile, but Clement Grenier, Nabil Fekir and Samuel Umtiti all strong other examples – broke through under Garde will resonate with Aston Villa. They too have been frugal spenders who have preferred an in-house-development approach under Randy Lerner’s ownership.

Garde’s results with a young squad – third, fourth and fifth in the league, the Coupe de France title and two Coupe de Ligue finals and a mediocre European record – were a justifiable return considering Lyon were no longer France’s heavy-hitters.

Generally a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 disciple, the 49-year-old could follow his preferred tactical method with Villa’s current crop. The tactical consistency he showed at Lyon would be a welcome relief to the scattergun approach that Sherwood seemed married to.

Nothing from that CV suggests Garde can’t keep Villa up. The policy of the club is what he is used to and the high number of French signings they made in the summer should actually help him settle quicker.

Should he manage to keep them afloat, he could prove a savvy long-term appointment.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.