The news of Martin O Neill’s departure from Aston Villa has been greeted with a great shock and a large amount of intrigue. Whatever the reasons for his resignation, he leaves behind him a short period of time before the new season starts, a position with allegedly little resources and a team apparently braced to lose its best players. For fans still nurturing dreams of a top four finish, concern lies with who is chosen as O Neill’s successor. Well, who does the Villa board have out there to choose from?
1) Jürgen Klinsmann
The German is perhaps the best known and perhaps the most eye-catching managers currently unattached but he also remains very much an unknown quantity. A surprise run with the German national to 3rd in the 2008 World Cup was followed up with indifferent campaigns with Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League.
While Klinsmann is an adherent of attacking football, which suits Villa’s current squad the sticking point is whether such a big name would join a club facing an exodus of quality players and restrained by what could be a small transfer budget has to develop players rather than buy them.
Teams Managed: Germany, Bayern Munich
Win ratio: 56.96%
2) Marco Van Basten
If player development as well as competitiveness is high on the priorities of the Aston Villa board Van Basten could well be the answer. The Dutchman is not only one of the greatest football players alive; he has shown glimpses of his managerial potential through the scintillating performances of the Dutch national team in Euro 2008.
Van Basten started out at Ajax reserves, with the crucial responsibility of nurturing the stars of the future, a role he resumed when he came back to manage first team in 2008. Van Basten bought the young talents of Sulejmani and Aissati to the club and gave the captain’s armband to Huntelaar only for the striker to be sold 6 months later.
Ajax finished 3rd when Van Basten departed, worryingly a single point behind England’s greatest umbrella salesman Steve McClaren’s FC Twente.
Teams Managed: Ajax Reserves, Netherlands, Ajax
Win ratio: 65.48%
3) Sven-Göran Eriksson
The former England manager has the most impressive CV out of all contenders but also the debilitating problem of being Sven Goran Eriksson. Ever since his departure from the England job, Sven has fallen on an unbelievably barren patch recently. The Swede has changed jobs so frequently and with so little achievement he’s turned into a bit of joke. The entire debacle at Notts County epitomises this, it was so epically absurd it wouldn’t look out of place in a Monty Python routine.
Dwelling on the positives however, the Swede has stated that he has unfinished business in the premiership and has experienced any situation a manager may be called upon with their squad, the fast counter attacking style of football he employed at Manchester City is something that both the team and fans at Aston Villa should be used to. Added to this, the time he spent at Benfica, Roma, Sampdoria and Lazio would have prepared him to dealing against far more financially resourceful and quality opponents, the fact he won major trophies at each of those clubs only adds to his prestige.
Whether Sven’s golden touch has left him however is another matter…
Teams Managed: Benfica, Roma, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Lazio, England, Manchester City, Ivory Coast.
Win Ratio: 52.29%
These are just three options for the board. Who would you recommend and why? I'd especially like to know the opinions of Villa fans themselves. What would your expectations under new management be?