Almost immediately after sacking Tim Sherwood, reports emerged that the ex-Lyon manager, Remi Garde, was the frontrunner for the vacant position, and those reports gained momentum over the weekend until it seemed almost imminent. Unfortunately, things can never be that easy at Aston Villa, and talks between the two sides stalled Monday afternoon.
The sticking point seems to be not with Garde, but with his former assistants. Garde wants to add his old pals to the backroom staff at Villa. But Garde's old side Lyon aren't willing to part with assistants Gerald Baticle and Bruno Genesio, while Robert Duverne, another of Garde's cadre, can't get his employer, Metz, to agree to a move either. You may remember Duverne from a few years ago, who actually served at Villa as a fitness coach under Gerard Houllier. You might also recognize him from the infamous dust-up with Richard Dunne and James Collins, who disagreed (very strongly, apparently) with Duverne's philosophy. Even if he could manage to be released from Metz, who knows if Duverne would even want to return to England or Villa?
Having Baticle and Duverne to join him in England seems to be a deal-breaker for Garde. And honestly, who can blame him? We've seen the disastrous results of having a manager without his first-choice assistants. Roy Keane and Ray Wilkins turned out to be huge disappointments, whether that was anticipated (Keane) or shocking (Wilkins). As Aston VIlla Review pointed out, if Sherwood had managed to get his preferred assistant, and current Queens Park Rangers manager Chris Ramsey, to Villa Park, the state of the club could have been completely different.
Villa have also been keeping their eyes on other options in the case the Garde deal falls through, including the usual suspects Rodgers and Moyes, and the unusual suspect KEYSER SÖZE (Gus Poyet).