Steven Gerrard has edged closer to a first Premier League job with his club Rangers allowing talks to take place with Aston Villa.
The former Liverpool captain has 2-and-a-half years left on his contract at Ibrox, and approval was required before Gerrard was allowed discuss a potential departure.
Villa sacked Dean Smith on Sunday off the back of a fifth straight league defeat and the club hurtling down the table. Gerrard, and Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez, were the names heading their shortlist of potential replacements.
41-year old Gerrard has been with Rangers since the summer of 2018, and earlier this year led the Glasgow giants to the Scottish Premiership crown - ending Celtic's hopes of 10-in-a-row in the process. He also led Rangers to their best European performance in a decade - reaching the last-16 of the Europa League.
Gerrard was pictured in London on Wednesday, ahead of rumoured talks with Villa chiefs.
Should the move to the English Midlands come to pass, it's likely he'll take his backroom team with him. Among them are his assistant Gary McAllister, who previously worked under Gerard Houllier at Villa.
Also Villa Park-bound would be Rangers first-team coach Michael Beale, who was given a ringing endorsement by Villa legend Stiliyan Petrov.
"I’ve came across Michael few times," the Bulgarian tweeted, "Incredible coach and powerful communicator on and off the pitch.”
Villa's receipt for prying Rangers' coaching staff away from Ibrox reportedly has a figure of £3million (€3.5m) at the bottom of it.
While the Villa job would be Gerrard's first in England, he's been backed to succeed by the club's former defender Richard Dunne.
“I think it’s very exciting," the former Republic of Ireland captain told Sky Sports, "He’s a young manager and not been in the game very long but what he’s done at Rangers has been exceptional.
“The way that he holds himself in terms of his professionalism has been brilliant and he’s led that club really well since being there.
"He’s won the league and has that experience of European football so I think for Villa fans it would be an exciting appointment.”