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