Christian Purslow, Aston Villa’s chief executive, has cited the decision as part of the club’s directive to make a change at the end of the next international break after the management had not seen any continuous improvement in results, performances, and league position from the last season.
Aston Villa Considering Denmark Coach Kasper Hjulmand As Successor
Prior to his recent sacking, Smith (who successfully returned Villa to the top flight in 2019) had steered the football club to a humble 11th-placed finish last season after spending almost £90m on new players during the summer transfer window. Of note, Smith was also responsible for the British-record transfer of Aston Villa star player Jack Grealish to Manchester City for £100m, while also bringing in Emi Buendia, Danny Ings, and Leon Bailey for almost the same price tag.
But as the November international break looms close, Villa is currently placed 16th on the table and is in real danger of facing relegation following Friday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Southampton if the club continues on this poor run of form.
And as far as candidates go, Villa has not yet announced anything concrete. However, Hjulmand is one name that has been thrown around as he is well-known to Villa sporting director and fellow Dane, Johan Lange. One recent highlight of Hjulmand’s career was taking over the mantle for Denmark and leading the team to a Euro 2020 semi-final clash against England after Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in the group stage.
He is expected to be in the running alongside a number of other well-known names. Namely, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard and Southampton head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl have been rumoured.
Fortunately, the two-week gap between now until the team’s next battle at home against Brighton means that Villa will have some breathing space to hire the perfect candidate as Smith’s replacement. There is also the sentiment that whoever takes over the role will face an uphill battle of taking Villa to the next level with a squad that is capable of competing at the highest level in the EPL.
In Smith’s departure announcement, Villa CEO Purslow said that the team’s progress in the league was not where they had hoped for even after a good start to the season.
“For this reason, we have decided to make a change now to allow time for a new head coach to make an impact. The process of replacing Dean will now begin and the club will update supporters in due course,” he continued.
“When Dean joined us in October 2018 our team was really struggling in the Championship. He immediately transformed the atmosphere and performances and achieved the ultimate success of leading Villa back to the Premier League within the same season — a rare feat in and of itself.”
“The board would like to sincerely thank Dean for his many excellent achievements, on and off the pitch, during this time.”
He ended his statement with, “everyone knows how much Aston Villa means to Dean and his family. He has represented the club with distinction and dignity — universally liked and respected by everybody associated with Aston Villa — our staff, players and supporters alike. We wish him the very best.”