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Garde front-runner for Aston Villa job

Remi Garde looks to be on the top of the list of possible candidates to take over at Aston Villa as club owner Randy Lerner has flown to France.

Lerner flew to France to meet with Garde. Garde has been on a voluntary sabbatical since leaving Lyon last year for personal reasons. During his time in charge for Lyon, the team finished 4th, 3rd and 5th, despite Lyon scaling back significantly on players salaries and transfer fees. Kevin MacDonald will lead Villa in their next game against Tottenham on Monday, but it seems like a deal is close for the 49-year-old French manager to take over at Villa Park.

“Obviously, the hierarchy think he is the man for the job,” MacDonald told The Guardian. “I’ve been told I need to prepare the team for Monday. Whether Remi has been given the position and is maybe in the stand to watch, I don’t know, that is going to be an ongoing thing.

“He was a decent footballer at Arsenal, they don’t have many bad players over the years, and he has got a good pedigree as a coach. If, at the end of the season, Aston Villa are still in the Premier League then it’s a good appointment. Arsène Wenger came in and never had any Premier League experience.”

Garde spent three seasons with Arsenal between 1996-1999 and made 43 appearances for the Gunners. Garde was 30 years old when he joined Arsenal and was used as a backup to Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit. His former manager Arsene Wenger has urged Garde to take the job at Villa.

“It is a challenge that he should take,” Wenger said. “Are assistants of Lyon free or not? It doesn’t matter, it’s a challenge he should take. Remi is an intelligent man who has experience in Lyon now. He will try to get his ideas through, the ideas he got through in Lyon, and hopefully it can work.

“They have five or six French players there who haven’t all had an impact, maybe he will give them a chance, I don’t know.”

Aston Villa has struggled the past couple of seasons. Paul Lambert got sacked in February after two and half years at the helm, and was replaced with Tim Sherwood. The former Tottenham manager saved the team from relegation, but the poor start to the 2015-16 campaign made it impossible for the club to keep him on.

Villa’s record the past four seasons has been troubling for the fans and owner Randy Lerner, who made it publicly known that he’s looking to sell the club. Villa has finished 16th, 15th, 15th, and 17th in the last four seasons, and has gone from being a stable mid table team to being in the relegation trenches year after year.

Reports out of England say that the deal might take a while as Garde ideally would want Lyon coaches Bruno Genesio and Gerald Baticle with him to Birmingham, but Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas seems to be reluctant to let the coaches leave the club.

Garde will have his work cut out for him at Villa with the team sitting on last place in the Premier League table with only four points in 10 games. Villa heads into Monday’s game against Tottenham looking to snap a six-game losing streak.

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