Ruben Amorim: Analysis of potential Villa target to replace Gerrard

Aston Villa have been linked with appointing Ruben Amorim as Steven Gerrard’s successor, so what could he bring to the club if he got the job?

After wasting no time to announce the decision to part company with Gerrard following our defeat to Fulham on Thursday night, the Villa hierarchy were similarly quick to confirm that the process of appointing his successor was already underway, as per the club’s statement.

READ MORE: Villa in talks with possible Gerrard replacement as Pochettino, Tuchel ruled out

The week started with countless names being linked with the post, but with Gerrard now officially out of the job, that touted shortlist had shrunk within hours as The Athletic reported that neither Mauricio Pochettino nor Thomas Tuchel would hold an interest in the position.

Instead, they added, talks had begun between Villa and Sporting coach Amorim, and it appears as though the 37-year-old has now emerged as one of the frontrunners with speculation building as he would be an exciting choice in a seemingly smaller pool of potential – and realistic – candidates.

Ruben Amorim analysis – right man for Villa job?

It’s been a rapid rise for Amorim when charting his success as a coach in Portugal. From his early work at Casa Pia to Braga B before getting the top job at the latter, between 2018 and 2020 he enjoyed a whirlwind progression in his young coaching career which culminated in getting the Sporting job in March 2020.

Having claimed some major scalps during his time at Braga, Sporting were convinced enough by his potential that they paid €10m to activate his release clause, and it proved to be a genius move.

Amorim led them to their first Portuguese league title in 19 years and lifted more domestic honours as records tumbled, while he also helped them make a big impact in the Champions League last season too as they reached the round of 16 for the first time since the 2008/09 season.

Although they couldn’t defend their league crown and things have slipped slightly this season, there is no doubting the improvement, progression and achievements that Amorim enjoyed during his first two years at Sporting, and that in turn has helped him become one of the top coaching talents in Europe.

Delving into his coaching style more, some key aspects come to the fore in various discussions and analysis pieces. His communication skills, both with the players and fans, is constantly lauded, while his ability to coach individuals and improve them coupled with his tactical know-how have all earned praise.

He’s known for predominantly using a 3-4-3 system, but there is flexibility in his approach and he seemingly has a good eye to identify players that fit his system and ideas which in turn helps the whole structure work and bring success.

Should Villa opt for Amorim, it would be an intriguing choice that would come with excitement and risk.

His lack of experience outside of Portugal, albeit he has shown his qualities in the Champions League, might be a concern for some, as it will be a big step up were he to move to the Premier League as the next chapter in his coaching career.

Further, he has encountered issues this season with Sporting sat fifth in the table after nine games, nine points adrift of leaders Benfica, while they’ve had some disappointing Cup and Champions League results too. A change in approach in perhaps not using the club’s homegrown youth players as much has been suggested as a key factor in that dip, but he’ll no doubt have faith in his coaching to get things right.

Nevertheless, Villa are looking for fundamental strengths in our next coach, or at least they should be, and that’s to reconnect with the supporters and give us something to get behind, to improve the current players in the squad, both senior and young talent alike, and to coach the team up to fulfil its potential and achieve better results before bringing in his own players too.

There will be challenges and it won’t be the top pick universally, but if Villa do go with Amorim, it’s a different style of a statement appointment that should get something more out of the current group. It would also hopefully set the foundation for a long-term vision with a modern manager who has a clear identity and way of playing that he can implement and develop wherever he goes.