Steven Gerrard Aston Villa latest: Rangers boss remains favourite, reports of approach imminent, contract situation, Christian Purslow desire

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has emerged as the early favourite to be the new Aston Villa manager, with the English Premier League club hoping to make an appointment before their next match on November 20.

Steven Gerrard has been linked with the Aston Villa job.

The Birmingham-based club sacked Dean Smith on Sunday after five straight league defeats left them 16th in the table, just two points above the relegation zone.

Gerrard is odds-on with some bookmakers to be Smith's successor, with The Daily Mail on Monday evening reporting that Villa are poised to formally approach the Ibrox club. The 41-year-old's stock is high south of the border after winning the Scottish Premiership title last season and ending nine years of dominance by Old Firm rivals Celtic.

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The former Liverpool and England midfielder, who joined Rangers in the summer of 2018, has been linked with jobs previously in England. Even last month, he was suggested as a replacement for Steve Bruce at Newcastle United, while he has also been touted for roles at Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace.

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow, who crossed paths with Gerrard between 2009 and 2011 while at Liverpool, is leading the club's hunt for a new manager and is understood to want someone in place for the home match against Brighton a week on Saturday. The Midlands outfit are prepared to pay compensation should the suitable candidate be contracted to another club.

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez, Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand, Paulo Fonseca and Frank Lampard are other names that have been linked with the vacancy, while former Villa assistant boss John Terry is also in the running.

Gerrard signed a new deal with Rangers, taking him to the summer of 2024, and his team currently sit four points clear of Celtic at the top of the cinch Premiership going into the international break. They are also in contention to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Europa League once again, sitting third in their group with two matches remaining.

A former team-mate’s view

Gerrard has revitalised Rangers since he took over from Graeme Murty three-and-a-half years ago and Jamie Carragher, a former team-mate of his at Liverpool and England, believes any offer from Villa would pose a significant conundrum.

"I think Aston Villa as a club would be a great move for Steven Gerrard, " said Carragher. "But the situation he finds himself in right now is that he took the title away from Celtic last season, and he's in a great position to win it again.

"I think in a perfect world you'd want to stay at Rangers to the end of the season and come away from there with two titles.

"I mean, this is not something coming from Steven Gerrard but, 'Look I've been in a job for four years in the Scottish Premiership', and I think sooner or later there's going to be a great chance Steven Gerrard is going to come to the Premier League.

"It's a difficult one. If he got offered the Aston Villa job, I don't think there'd be many jobs in the Premier League which he would get offered better than that.

"People talk about Liverpool, and that might be another two or three years with Jurgen Klopp but you're not going to get any jobs better, so it would be a decision for him."

"But, in a perfect world, I think Steven Gerrard wants to come away from Rangers with another couple of trophies."

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