Names and days dwindle, and France legend Thierry Henry emerges as the managerial candidate that checks the most boxes for Aston Villa.
The international window is prime firing time (if there ever is one) for in-season managerial changes. Steve Bruce, two years on the job as Aston Villa boss, was fired last week after a miserable start to the season. Chief Executive Christian Purslow begins to narrow down his list of candidates to lead the claret and blue.
Among the names he’s reportedly sought include, but are not limited to: Shakhtar’s Paulo Fonseca, Celtic’s Brendan Rodgers, Brentford’s Dean Smith, and Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez.
That same in-season timing is what’s virtually excluded the above four targets from taking the Villa job. The risk of uncertainty about the post, warped in financial restrictions and a shaky, inherited defense, leaves those unwilling to leave their current management positions. Smith has it good at Brentford; they’re serious promotion contenders. Same goes for Fonseca in Ukraine. It’s going to take a far more attractive job for him to leave. Rodgers seems content in Scotland, no matter the amount of open jobs he’s linked to.
As the days dwindle in Aston Villa’s search for a new manager, one candidate’s name continues to circulate.
Thierry Henry continues to outlast the competition.
By default, he’s Aston Villa’s most logical, available candidate for hire. He desperately wants to manage after a two-year spell as Belgium’s assistant under Roberto Martinez. Villa Chairmen Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens kicked the tires on him as soon as they took over as controlling owners. While they didn’t pull the trigger in the summer, Henry surely stuck around in the backs of their minds.
Henry nearly took over the Bordeaux job in France’s Ligue 1, only to back away after financial constraints from the club’s owners. But it showed Henry possesses patience. He’s not looking to rush into the first club that calls his name. He wants to be at a place where he can succeed. To consider Aston Villa, should be considered a good thing.
Whether Henry would be a good hire is open for debate. He’s pretty inexperienced, but he’s well regarded among the game’s best. To hire Thierry Henry could be a historic Villa appointment. It could also be a complete bust.
I suspect it won’t land anywhere in between.