Roberto Martinez’s stance on taking Aston Villa job as he eyes Premier League return

Premier League managerial departures so far this season

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Aston Villa are looking for a new manager after sacking Dean Smith on Sunday, but it seems unlikely that Roberto Martinez will become his successor, according to reports. Martinez is among the names who have been linked with the new vacancy in Birmingham, but the Belgium manager may not be travelling to Villa Park in the coming weeks.

Smith had been in charge at Villa for three years, earning promotion from the Championship in his first season in charge before cementing the club’s status in the Premier League.

However, a run of five successive league defeats, which has left Villa 16th, just two points above the relegation zone proved decisive.

“This year we have not seen the continuous improvement in results, performances and league position which we have all been looking for,” Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said in a statement on Sunday.

“For this reason we have decided to make a change now to allow time for a new head coach to make an impact.”

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and Smith’s ex-assistant John Terry are all in contention, according to bookmakers.

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Meanwhile, Belgium boss Martinez, former Roma coach Paulo Fonseca and Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand have all cropped up in reports.

Martinez has been in charge of Belgium for five years and has frequently been linked with a return to the Premier League in recent years.

The previously vacant roles at Tottenham and Newcastle saw the former Swansea, Wigan and Everton boss mentioned before Antonio Conte and Eddie Howe were appointed.

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The Sun has reported that Martinez is interested in the Villa job, which he previously turned down in June 2011, although he is said to be determined to secure Belgium’s place at next year’s World Cup before deciding his future.

However, Belgian outlet HLN has a different take on the 48-year-old’s ambitions, reporting he is ‘not eager’ to take over a club that is fighting relegation, like Newcastle, Norwich or Aston Villa.

Martinez is reportedly interested in returning to the Premier League, but it has to be the ‘right club at the right time’.

He signed a new deal with Belgium in May 2020, which takes him through to the summer of 2022, when a return to the Premier League could be on the cards.

Martinez is currently focused on Belgium’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers, which start against Estonia on Saturday.

But The Sun believes the following match, against Wales in Cardiff on Tuesday, could allow him time to speak with Villa, if they are still looking for a manager by then.

Whether he becomes the next Villa boss or not, it is likely more Premier League jobs will become available this season, with five having been sacked already in 2021/22.

Smith followed Daniel Farke (Norwich), Nuno Espirito Santo (Tottenham), Steve Bruce (Newcastle) and Xisco Munoz (Watford) in losing his job over the weekend.

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