Third Prem club eyes Fonseca with manager ‘on borrowed time’

Matt Stead
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer embraces Paulo Fonseca

Aston Villa are the latest Premier League club to be linked with Portuguese manager Paulo Fonseca this season.

Fonseca was one of many candidates considered by Tottenham before the north London side opted for the ill-fated appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo.

Newcastle were then said to have targeted Fonseca to replace the ousted Steve Bruce, although the Magpies have since turned their attentions to former Arsenal head coach Unai Emery.

Fonseca remains on the Premier League radar, however, as Aston Villa contemplate a future without Dean Smith.

The 50-year-old is under pressure at Villa, who slipped to a fourth consecutive defeat when humbled at home by West Ham.

That 4-1 loss left the club 15th in the table after ten games, level on points with Watford and Leeds and hovering above the relegation zone.

The £100m sale of Jack Grealish to Manchester City offers some mitigation but after reinvesting that sum in Emiliano Buendia, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey as part of a spend amounting to more than £300m since earning promotion to the top flight in summer 2019.

While the Daily Mail stress that the club’s hierarchy ‘remain supportive of the manager’, it is added that ‘candidates are being explored in the event of Smith going’.

‘Informal contact’ has thus been made with Fonseca’s representatives, with Smith considered to be ‘on borrowed time’ by sources.

Fonseca was first linked with Villa in October 2018 before the club landed Smith, who has won 28 (32.6%) and lost 42 (48.8%) of his games as a Premier League manager.

In rejecting the chance to take over Tottenham in the summer, Fonseca noted that “problems arose” with the arrival of Fabio Paratici as managing director.

“I could not have questioned my ideas or my values just to coach a big team,” he said.

“With the arrival of the new general manager, things suddenly changed and it was not possible for me to be part of a technical project that I did not believe in.”

The Portuguese has previously expressed a desire to manage in England, stating: “It is a dream for every coach and it is a big league, the best, maybe, in the world.

“I would like one day to come here and manage one team. I don’t know when it will be but I believe one day it will happen.”

Fonseca has been out of work since leaving Roma upon the expiration of his contract in June, having taken the capital side to finishes of 5th and 7th, as well as a Europa League semi-final.