Aston Villa have held talks with Remi Garde, suggests Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger believes Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner has met with Remi Garde as the midlands club hunt their new boss.
Managerless Villa want to appoint former Arsenal midfielder Garde, and Gunners chief Wenger - who recommended the north London club sign the player in summer 1996 before officially taking up the reins - thinks they have moved a step closer.
Garde has been the overwhelming favourite to replace Tim Sherwood since he was sacked on Sunday, with Villa bottom of the Barclays Premier League ahead of Monday's trip to Tottenham.
Wenger confirmed Villa's chief executive Tom Fox, who used to work at Arsenal, had been in touch and reckons Lerner has held talks with the ex-Lyon boss.
"He (Fox) texted me," the Arsenal manager said. "I think they met Remi Garde with the chairman and they made their opinion.
"I don't think Tom Fox knew Remi Garde. I don't think he was here (at Arsenal) at the time, but certainly he got some information from people who knew Remi.
"It's a big challenge for him but it's a big opportunity. You do not get 20 opportunities to come to England and at the moment, in Europe, you find 250 managers who want to come to England."
Garde, 49, is keen on bringing Lyon coaches Bruno Genesio and Gerald Baticle with him, but the French club's president Jean-Michel Aulas has said they are going nowhere.
Kevin MacDonald is currently in caretaker charge and oversaw Wednesday's 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat at Southampton.
MacDonald was previously caretaker boss in 2010 when Martin O'Neill quit on the eve of the season.
Since then Villa have battled relegation for long spells, and MacDonald admitted they do not have a right to stay in the top flight.
"There's a lot of people caning the club at the moment and I think people need to realise once we start to push up the table we hopefully will put it to bed," he said.
"I don't want to envisage relegation but it's happened before, to the old First or Second Division. There's no divine right to stay in the Premier League. People, players and staff all have to push to try to get us out of this relegation battle.
"It won't be easy. It won't be for five or six weeks like Leicester did at the end of last season - it'll be for the rest of the season."
MacDonald expects Garde to be Villa's next manager.
''Obviously, the hierarchy think he is the man for the job," he said. ''I've been told I need to prepare the team for Monday. Whether Remi has been given the position and is maybe in the stand to watch, I don't know. That is going to be an ongoing thing.
''He was a decent footballer at Arsenal. They don't have many bad players over the years, and he has got a good pedigree as a coach.
''If, at the end of the season, Aston Villa are still in the Premier League, then it's a good appointment."