Ancelotti on Villa short-list

Aston Villa are drawing up a short-list, also likely to include
Fulham’s Mark Hughes and Everton’s David Moyes, after Houllier’s
nine-month reign ended because of concerns over his health. They
are hoping to appoint Houllier’s successor before the end of June
to give him time to assess the current squad and bring in new
signings before the 2011-12 campaign begins. There has been intense
speculation that Hughes is bound for Villa Park and he is the
current favourite with the bookmakers. He signed a two-year deal
last summer although he can activate a get-out clause for the final
12 months. But Ancelotti is also understood to be impressing Lerner
given his outstanding track record. He led the Blues to the double
in his first season at Stamford Bridge before being sacked by
Chelsea last month having ended the season trophyless. Lerner would
have to convince Ancelotti that Villa match his own ambitions and
can mount a serious challenge for Champions League football. Villa
may also find Ancelotti’s wage demands could be a stumbling block
after reportedly earning around £5million last season at
Chelsea. He has been linked with a move to newly-promoted QPR
should they dispense with Neil Warnock. Ultimately, Hughes may turn
out to be a more realistic proposition for Villa should he decide
to seek fresh pastures. He led Fulham to eighth spot in the Premier
League and a Europa League spot via the Fair Play League in his
first season. But Moyes, the number one choice of fans in a local
newspaper poll, ex-England coach Steve McClaren, Martin Jol and
current Wigan boss Roberto Martinez are also in the frame. A source
close to Villa said: “The club are aware of the need to bring in
the right man with the right pedigree. “But they are also aware of
the important of giving him time to make his mark before the new
season after last summer.” That is a reference to Villa having to
start looking for a new manager just five days before the start of
the 2010-11 campaign after Martin O’Neill decided to end his
four-year reign, and former Villa boss Graham Taylor agreed that it
was important to give the new man time. He told BBC Sport: “It is
important that (chief executive) Paul Faulkner and Randy Lerner, if
they decide to get rid of Gerard as they have done, that they
follow that up soon,” he added. “If they decide they want a manager
who is under contract with a club that might take some time with
compensation to be agreed. “Each manager has a certain viewpoint on
players when they come into a role and if they come in too late, as
happened last year, they will have to wait until December when
Gerard was able to bring in Bent and Jean Makoun.” Houllier did not
take charge until mid-September and was left to play catch-up in
trying to make his mark on the club with the transfer window
closed. The ex-Liverpool manager has left Villa after nine months
in charge to allow him more time to recuperate after his heart
problem.