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Bob Bradley: An American to coach Aston Villa?

Would you have even considered about a decade back that an American could be in the running to coach an English Premier League side? I guess many would have said simply no. But now this could soon happen as US national coach Bob Bradley is a potential candidate to be the new Aston Villa coach, replacing Martin O’Neill who left the club in haste days before the start of the new Premier League season.

A decade back you would have a few American players in the Premier League and across European leagues, but no American owners or business executives who learned their trade in Major League Soccer. Things have changed as you have American owners at Manchester United, FC Liverpool and Aston Villa plus someone like Ivan Gazidis as Chief Executive at FC Arsenal, who learned the business at the MLS and was its deputy commissioner before he left. And now even a coach from the new world could be coming to the old world. Surely some will believe signing Bob Bradley as Aston Villa coach would be a cultural shock.

But I don’t think so then in today’s globalized world especially with football spreading its wings new ideas and approached might be just the right ingredient. Bradley has shown what he can do with the limited resources in the US team. The side has some quality players in Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, but also others who play lower level football or are bench players at their clubs. Years of experience as MLS coach added with his ability to get the best out of his players could be something Aston Villa is looking for in their new coach.

Talks have been held between Aston Villa’s American owner Randy Lerner and representatives from Bob Bradley. Interestingly the initial approach came from Bradley, who had heard about the rumours linking him with the Villa job and he wanted to get it clarified if he was actually in the running. The communication was positive, whatever that means, and Villa cleverly haven’t pushed things too quickly and are taking their time to find the right man for the job. But their 6-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United yesterday might speed-up things now.

Bradley has shown his interest and is likely to be amongst the candidates now. But one will have to wait and see if an English Premiership club owned by an American will also soon have an American manager.

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