Steve Bruce set for crunch talks with new Aston Villa chiefs

Steve Bruce is poised to meet Villa’s new owners with his position under increasing scrutiny and Thierry Henry being lined-up as a potential successor.

Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce

The former Arsenal and France striker is understood to have been sounded out by Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, the businessmen who now own a 55 per cent stake in the club.

Henry has expressed a desire to move into management and on Tuesday several bookmakers yesterday suspending betting on the 40-year-old replacing Bruce in the Villa Park hot-seat.

Much now depends on the crunch talks between Bruce and the new men at the helm, scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

The 57-year-old has made clear his desire to continue in the post and can claim to have made significant progress in turning Villa around, since taking charge in October 2016 when the club sat near the foot of the Championship.

That is despite bringing in a profit of around £18million in transfer fees across the three windows prior to this one.

Yet failure to win promotion last season, when Villa lost to Fulham in the play-off final, set off a summer of crisis which saw the club come within a whisker of entering administration due to the money troubles of former owner Tony Xia, who retains a 45 per cent minority stake.

The arrival of Edens and Sawiris has eased those financial concerns and means Villa now have the funds to change manager should they choose, with Bruce due a pay-off of around £1.7million should they decide to dispense with his services.

Interest in Henry is thought to stem from London-based Sawiris, a regular attendee at Arsenal home matches.

Henry, who also played for Juventus and Barcelona during a glittering career, is currently employed as assistant to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez. He quit a lucrative punditry role with Sky Sports earlier this month in order to focus more attention on a management career.

“These experiences have only made me more determined to fulfil my long-term ambition to become a football manager,” he said.

Henry is Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer with 228 goals in all competitions, achieved over two spells - 1999-2007 and while on loan in 2012. He won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups. He also won two La Liga titles and the Champions League with Barcelona, and the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship with France.

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