Football rumours: Shakhtar's Fonseca to ride in and rescue Aston Villa?

Barry Glendenning on 4 October 2018

The Rumour Mill is not usually one to riff, be-bop and scat all over another man’s pain, but the dismissal of Steve Bruce from Aston Villa on the back of just one win in 10 games has come as a timely blessing on a day when, without it, the gruel that is our transfer tittle-tattle would be decidedly thin. After 102 matches manning the tiller of the good ship Villa, Bruce leaves with the club’s best wishes and – more importantly – a pay-off (some might say a Brucie bonus) of about £2.3m, while the club’s chief executive, Christian Purslow, is left with the task of finding his replacement.

While Thierry Henry has already been installed as the bookies’ favourite to take the job, the Birmingham Mail reports that Paulo Fonseca is a more likely contender. The Shakhtar Donetsk manager was strongly linked with a move to Everton before they appointed Marco Silva last summer. Speculation abounds that Brentford manager Dean Smith, a Villa fan, may also be considered for the role vacated by Bruce, while the name of one John Terry is also being muttered despite his lack of managerial smarts. Newcastle United’s Rafael Benítez and Swansea City’s Graham Potter have also been mentioned as potential successors to replace Bruce in the swivel chair. It is hoped that whoever gets the gig will be in place in time for Villa’s game against Swansea City just after the international break.

A man who spent six years at Villa as a player, notching up 191 appearances, Gareth Southgate, won’t be taking the job as he’s about to ink a new £3m-per-year deal that will keep him in his role as England manager until the end of the next World Cup in Qatar.

Depending on your source of football news, José Mourinho either (a) retains the full support of Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family, or (b) will be joining Steve Bruce in the dole queue if Manchester United are beaten by Newcastle at St James’ Park this weekend. Still looking for their first win of the season, Newcastle travel to Old Trafford on Saturday and may very well come away with all three points if the evidence of their hosts’ largely underwhelming performances on their own turf so far this season is anything to go by.

Linked with Tottenham Hotspur in this very column on Wednesday, Adrien Rabiot has turned down a third offer of a new deal from Paris Saint-Germain and his “people” are telling potential suitors not to waste their time with anything less than a four-year contract worth £9m per year for their client. Elsewhere in France, £30m-rated Lille winger Nicolas Pépé has caught the eye of Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Everton and Arsenal. The 23-year-old Ivory Coast international scored 13 goals in 36 appearances last season and already has five on the board after eight games of the current campaign.

Set to leave Arsenal as a free agent in the summer, Aaron Ramsey has been linked with Juventus, but the word in the porticos lining Turin’s famous Piazza Castello is that the Welsh midfielder’s wage demands are too high. The man they call “Rambo” is unlikely to be short of suitors and Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Milan are also believed to be hitching their skirts and giving him the glad eye.

And finally, Bournemouth are keeping tabs Serie A side Spal’s 24-year-old midfielder Manuel Lazzari, while perma-knacked West Ham striker Andy Carroll is about two weeks away from making his West Ham return after recovering from ankle surgery.

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