Next Aston Villa manager: Christian Purslow 'has already spoken to somebody's agent'

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow

Former Premier League midfielder Carlton Palmer has exclusively revealed that Aston Villa have already got a new manager lined up.

Villa have headed into the international break without a boss after Dean Smith was sacked yesterday.

Who is in the running to become Villa's next manager?

Steven Gerrard and Roberto Martinez are on Villa's shortlist to replace Smith at the helm.

Gerrard is currently in charge of Rangers, where he won the Scottish Premiership title last season.

Martinez will be busy during the international break as he is Belgium's head coach and has registered 50 wins from 66 matches.

But he has plenty of experience in English football, having bossed Swansea City, Wigan Athletic and Everton.

Villa are also considering Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl for the top job, while John Terry, Frank Lampard, Nuno Espirito Santo and Lucien Favre have also been linked with taking over the reins at Villa Park.

Denmark’s national coach Kasper Hjulmand was also touted as a potential replacement but the speculation comes after Villa had already made informal contact with Paulo Fonseca prior to Smith being relieved of his duties.

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What has Carlton Palmer said about Villa's search for a new manager?

Palmer insists Villa already have Smith's successor lined up despite the 50-year-old's exit only being announced a little over 24 hours ago.

The former England international, who won 18 caps during his playing days, reckons the Midlands club's hierarchy have already spoken to their first choice option's agent over moving into the Villa Park dugout.

Palmer exclusively told GIVEMESPORT: "No club sacks a manager without already having a replacement lined up.

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"They've already got one lined up. It will be revealed soon enough.

"They're already talked to somebody and they've already spoken to somebody's agent."

Why was Smith sacked by Villa?

An early Adam Armstrong goal resulted in Villa suffering a 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Friday.

It meant Villa were condemned to a fifth loss on the spin and, consequently, they now find themselves just two points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

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Following the latest setback at St Mary's, Smith conceded his side needed to turn their form around quickly.

However, he was shown the door before having the opportunity as chief executive Christian Purslow insisted a change in management was needed to give the incoming head coach more chance of making a telling impact.

Villa's loss of form came despite head coach Smith spending £93million on acquisitions during the summer transfer window, when Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea spent more.

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