Steven Gerrard has been sacked and the Aston Villa owners ‘are going to be ambitious in finding a replacement’, but are they barking up the wrong tree with Mauricio Pochettino.
Pochettino is out of a job having been let go by Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
He was among the candidates to take over at Chelsea before the Blues plumped for Graham Potter, and has been linked with Ligue 1 side Nice among others.
Reports suggest Pochettino is the Villa owners’ preferred candidate to replace Gerrard, who was sacked soon after his side’s 3-0 defeat to Fulham on Thursday despite awkwardly insisting he was a “fighter” in his post-match interview.
But Neville reckons Villa will have a tough time persuading Pochettino to join as his “aspirations will be higher” having tasted Champions League football with Tottenham and PSG.
“Pochettino is only going to a top six club,” Neville said on The Overlap. “He wouldn’t go below that would he?
“Mauricio Pochettino isn’t going to Aston Villa, I love Aston Villa as a club but… I don’t feel Mauricio Pochettino having had Tottenham, having PSG, his aspirations will be higher than Villa.
“He’ll have to wait for one of the top six or seven, Newcastle, or when top six clubs become available.”
CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs confirmed that the Villa bosses will be ‘ambitious’ in finding their next manager.
He tweeted: ‘Aston Villa sack Steven Gerrard after their 3-0 loss to Fulham. It’s going to take a lot to persuade Mauricio Pochettino to join, who is bidding his time for the right role. But one thing is for sure, Villa’s board are going to be ambitious in finding a replacement.’
Thomas Tuchel, who was sacked by Chelsea last month and is said to be keen to continue managing in England, has also been linked but like Pochettino may be of a quality above Villa’s station.
Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery has also been mooted, as has Brentford’s Thomas Frank, who may be more viable options to replace Gerrard at the helm.