Gerrard outlined his ambitions during the summer ahead of his first full season in charge of the Villans, saying:
“I believe a club like Villa need to go on a European journey ourselves so we can be taken seriously.
“We have to be competing for the domestic cups and I see no reason why we can’t. It’s a realistic aim and a target.”
Eye-catching additions from NSWE such as Diego Carlos, Philippe Coutinho and Boubacar Kamara had Villa fans believing that a top-seven finish could be on the cards but a disappointing start to the campaign has many looking in the opposite direction.
Gerrard’s side have picked up just seven points from their opening seven fixtures, with a morale-boosting draw against Manchester City before a win against Southampton easing the pressure on the Liverpool legend somewhat.
However, if Villa continue to find themselves in the bottom half of the Premier League table, considering their significant investment since Gerrard’s arrival, then club owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens could soon have a big decision to make.
Fortunately for the Midlands club, Mauricio Pochettino represents a top-class, immediately available option and the latest reports suggest that he could be keen on a return to the Premier League with Villa.
According to Football Insider, the manager dubbed “world-class” by Jamie O’Hara, who has previous Premier League experience with Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur, is considering the project on offer at Villa Park.
They claim that the Argentinian manager has already turned down an approach from OGC Nice and is potentially eyeing a move back to England, having left PSG during the summer.
Unlike Gerrard, Pochettino would bring top-level experience, having managed the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last season, while he also took Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019.
If Villa are indeed looking for a manager to take them to Europe, he would be better equipped. Indeed, Rangers weren’t able to reach the Champions League until Gerrard left, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst steering them to Europe’s top table at the first time of asking.
Meanwhile, his general record also looks far more appealing. The 50-year-old Argentine averaged 1.45 points per game at Southampton and 1.84 points per game at Spurs, both of which are better than the 1.25 points per game averaged by Gerrard at Villa.
Therefore, if Gerrard cannot build upon the promising results from the last two game weeks, then Sawiris could make the huge decision, perhaps his biggest one yet, to bring in Pochettino as his replacement.