Henry favourite for hot seat af­ter talks with Villa

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football - By John Percy

Thierry Henry is emerg­ing as the favourite to take over at As­ton Villa af­ter ini­tial talks with the club’s hi­er­ar­chy.

The leg­endary Arsenal for­ward, has dis­cussed the prospect of tak­ing over at the Cham­pi­onship club in what would be his first job in man­age­ment.

The 41-year-old has been tar­geted by Villa’s am­bi­tious own­ers, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, and is con­sid­er­ing whether to leave the Bel­gium Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, where he works as one of Roberto Martinez’s as­sis­tant coaches.

Villa, whose tor­rid run of form con­tin­ued with a 2-1 de­feat away to Mill­wall yes­ter­day, sacked Steve Bruce on Wed­nes­day and are keen to ap­point an in­no­va­tive young man­ager. Henry was dis­cussed as a po­ten­tial sum­mer tar­get for Sawiris and Edens af­ter they com­pleted their ma­jor­ity takeover in July, and Villa had to re­lease a state­ment re­it­er­at­ing their sup­port for Bruce.

But Tues­day’s 3-3 draw with Pre­ston North End was Bruce’s last game and Villa have been con­sid­er­ing can­di­dates, with the in­ten­tion of mak­ing an ap­point­ment be­fore the Oct 20 home game with Swansea. Care­taker Kevin Mac­Don­ald was in charge yes­ter­day.

Chris­tian Purslow, the Villa chief ex­ec­u­tive, is spear­head­ing the search and could com­plete the ap­point­ment of Henry next week if ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tinue to progress smoothly. It has been claimed that Henry be­lieves the Villa job is his if he wants it.

Villa are also close to ap­point­ing a new tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, with Je­sus Gar­cia Pitarch – for­merly of Va­len­cia – a strong con­tender.

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