If Aston Villa really are to propel themselves straight back into the Premier League next season following their embarrassing relegation, finding a suitable manager is vital.
Former Villa star Paul Merson believes securing a new man at the helm must be their ‘biggest signing’ of the summer, and must think ‘long and hard’ about who will be Remi Garde’s successor after the Frenchman was sacked at the end of March this year.
After Martin O’Neill departed from the club in 2010 – having guided his side to three consecutive 6th place finishes in the Premier League – the powers that be at Aston Villa have struggled to find a worthy replacement for the Northern Irishman.
The club’s success has spiralled downward in the years since, and Villa have narrowly escaped relegation in the previous four Premier League seasons before inevitable relegation this term, finishing 16th, 15th, 15th and 17th respectively.
How such an historic club with a proven record of winning can go from fourth place challengers to bottom of the table in a mere few years is a question only the club itself can answer.
The problem certainly lies deeper than merely the players or the manager, but ensuring the right people are at the club is one step in the right direction.
Here are five men who could take the reigns at Villa at launch them back into the top division next season…
Currently unemployed, the Scotsman looks a smart choice for Villa if they want to bring in a manager with vast experience in the English game.
Moyes was highly praised for what he did with his Everton side during his decade long tenure at the club, where he guided the Toffee’s to continual top half finishes, including a top four spot in 2004/05.
Having also managed Preston and, more memorably Manchester United in England, Moyes could take to Villa like a duck to water.
The same cannot be said about his brief spell in Spain however, where he was sacked by Real Sociedad after less than a month in charge.
While it is unlikely Dyche will leave his newly promoted Burnley side, there is no denying the Englishman would be a perfect fit for an out of sorts Aston Villa.
Dyche’s record of gaining promotion not only as a manager, but as a player too, is quite astounding. As a player, he won promotion with four of his clubs, including Northampton Town and Watford.
As a manager, he has no guided Burnley twice to promotion from the Championship since taking over from Eddie Howe in 2012, and has proven he knows what it takes to get out of a very competitive league.
Why fix something if it is not broken? That is what Aston Villa should be asking themselves after having parted ways with O’Neill back in 2010.
Randy Lerner had deemed that O’Neill and the club were going in ‘different directions’ and that that neither could come to a consensus on the correct way to take Aston Villa forward following his successful spell.
The now Republic of Ireland manager has gone on to help his side qualify for Euro 2016, while Villa find themselves rock bottom of the league with Championship football to look forward to next season.
A return after the competition could be on the cards, providing the Northern Irishman and Lerner can see eye-to-eye.
Many thought Pearson’s sacking from Leicester was unjust after a late surge had kept his side in the Premier League during their first season back in the top division.
In hindsight, it was probably the right call, but that is not to discredit what the Englishman has achieved at the Foxes, as well as his previous clubs Southampton and Hull.
The 52-year-old had guided Leicester from League One to the Championship in 2009, which was followed by a brief spell at Hull City before he returned to the Midlands to earn the Foxes a Premier League place by winning the Championship.
With plenty of experience under his belt, Pearson could be just the ostrich/man, to guide Villa back up the Premier League.
Former Villa striker Yorke has publicly announced his desire to get into management and his wish to steer Aston Villa back in the right direction by taking the vacant position at Villa Park.
Whilst he has no real previous management experience (besides being assistant manager for the Trinidad and Tobago national side), some fresh blood from a cult hero could spark some life into the club’s revival attempts.
It would certainly be a risk, but Yorke has played in and been promoted from the Championship before with former club Sunderland, so he must know a thing or two.