Steven Gerrard's £5m-a-year deal to deliver Aston Villa's 'ambitious plans'

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Steven Gerrard's £5m-a-year deal to deliver Aston Villa's 'ambitious plans' - AP
Steven Gerrard's £5m-a-year deal to deliver Aston Villa's 'ambitious plans' - AP

Steven Gerrard has been appointed as the new head coach of Aston Villa after a £4 million compensation deal was agreed with Rangers.

Six years after departing Liverpool as a player, Gerrard is returning to the Premier League and will become the highest-paid manager in Villa's history on a deal worth around £5 million a year.

The former England captain, one of the key men in the 'Golden Generation', has signed a three-and-a-half year contract, with highly-regarded coaches Gary McAllister and Michael Beale also making the move from Glasgow to the Midlands.

Gerrard had dinner with Christian Purslow, the chief executive, in London last night after being cleared for talks and is relishing the prospect of his first managerial position in England's top division.

He said: “Aston Villa is a club with a rich history and tradition in English football and I am immensely proud to become its new head coach.

"In my conversations with [owners] Nassef [Sawiris], Wes [Edens] and the rest of the board, it was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everybody associated with Glasgow Rangers for giving me the opportunity to manage such an iconic football club. Helping them secure a record-breaking 55th league title will always hold a special place in my heart. I would like to wish the players, staff and supporters the very best for the future.”

Gerrard leaves Rangers after three-and-a-half years, ending the club's long wait for a Scottish Premiership title last season, while he also registered a 72 per cent win rate in the domestic league. His Rangers teams were notable for their defensive solidity and narrow attacking formations.

His decision to quit Scotland has many similarities to the move made by Brendan Rodgers in February 2019, who controversially departed Celtic mid-season to join Leicester City.

He was quickly identified as Villa's No 1 target after the dismissal of Dean Smith on Sunday, and he will take charge of his first game against Brighton at home on Saturday week.

Steven Gerrard - GETTY IMAGES
Steven Gerrard - GETTY IMAGES

The appointment has been driven by Purslow, who has a close relationship with Gerrard after his time at Liverpool as managing director, and was fully approved by owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, plus sporting director Johan Lange.

Purslow said: “The Board of Aston Villa are delighted to appoint Steven as our new Head Coach.

“Since moving into coaching after his illustrious playing career, Steven began by managing and developing top young players in the Liverpool FC Academy which is experience we value highly at Aston Villa.

“He then took the brave decision to test himself in the intense and high pressured environment of the Scottish Old Firm. His subsequent achievement in winning the Premiership title with Glasgow Rangers really caught our eye as did his experience in Europe.

“It has been very clear in our discussions with him that Steven’s coaching ambitions, philosophy and values entirely match those of Aston Villa.

“We are excited he has agreed to lead us in the next phase of our ambitious plans as we look to build on the progress made since Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens took over the club in 2018.”

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