Lerner begins hunt for new boss
Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner will begin the hunt to find a successor to manager Martin O'Neill with fellow American Bob Bradley amongst the potential candidates.
Bradley emerged as one of the early favourites with various bookmakers to replace O'Neill, who resigned on Monday after four years at the helm. He steered the United States to the last 16 of the World Cup in South Africa as they finished ahead of England in their first-round group.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday night''s friendly against Brazil in New Jersey, the 52-year-old Bradley said: "I have said over and over as well that I am always excited about new and different challenges. Certainly coaching in Europe at some point is something that I would love to do."
He added: "At the same time, I also consider it a challenge when you finish one (World Cup) cycle and begin the process of working on another one. From the time one World Cup ends, you begin to go through the process of assessing where you are."
Ex-Aston Villa midfielder Alan Curbishley is also likely to be in the frame and is keen to return to the game after his spell at West Ham, but Lerner will not be short of candidates given Villa's standing, despite his apparent tightening of the purse strings in recent months.
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has also made it known in the past of his desire to manage in the Premier League, while Germany legend Jurgen Klinsmann was one of the names being mentioned when there was speculation over O'Neill's future towards the tail-end of last season.
Former England boss Steve McClaren has rebuilt his reputation with FC Twente in Holland, and is now in charge at Wolfsburg. And, almost inevitably, McClaren's predecessor Sven Goran-Eriksson is linked with every high profile job that becomes available.
But, if Lerner wants to look at potential candidates operating in England, then Simon Grayson (Leeds) - an ex-Villa player - Dave Jones (Cardiff) and Billy Davies (Nottingham Forest) could come into the equation.
Jonathan Fear, editor of Villa fans website Vital Villa said: "The club have got to go for a name to show that the ambition is still there. I am not altogether surprised Martin has left but shocked at the timing because it has made it difficult for the board to get the manager we need in quickly.
"I thought things had run their course at the end of last season and it was time for Martin to go. This could be good for both sides because you could sense the frustration but the timing seems crazy before the start of the season."