FORMER Celtic stars Chris Sutton and Stiliyan Petrov reckon Steven Gerrard WILL become Aston Villa’s new manager – if he gets the offer.

The Ibrox boss “is interested” in talking to the Midlands club as they pursue a replacement for the sacked Dean Smith, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

One-time Parkhead striker Sutton, who had a brief spell at Villa via Birmingham City after leaving Parkhead in 2006, is convinced Gerrard is likely to take the post following the Govan club’s announcement last week of huge losses.

GOOD TO TALK…Chris Sutton is a top pundit at BT Sport.

The Hoops goal hero insisted the Liverpool legend may be swayed to up sticks and return across the border after almost three and a half years in Glasgow with the club acknowledging losses of £23.5million.

Sutton said: “If you’re asking me if he was offered the job, would he take it? I think he would.

“He’s done a really excellent job at Rangers, stopping Celtic winning 10 in a row. A huge, huge deal.

“Rangers posted enormous losses just a few days ago. He’s been up there a long time now, three years. I think he’s done exceptionally well in Europe, if you look at his team last season I don’t think it is as good this season.

“Eventually, Steven Gerrard will come down south and, of course, the talk is he’ll end up at Liverpool. I don’t want to call Aston Villa a stepping stone because they’re an enormous club, but he needs to learn his trade at a club like Aston Villa.”

Sutton, speaking to the Daily Mail, added: “I think, in truth, you manage Celtic, you manage Rangers, and it has a shelf life.

“I just wonder if Steven Gerrard has come to the end of his shelf life. If he’s offered the job, I’m pretty sure he’d take it.”

‘MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION’…Stiliyan Petrov is backing Steven Gerrard to quit Govan.

Ex-Bulgarian international midfielder Petrov, who also played for Villa after quitting Celtic, told talkSPORT: “I have a lot of time for the young managers, especially for the two names that have been mentioned for the Villa job.

“Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, two young managers who have managed to start their careers in the best possible way.

“Especially Steven Gerrard, he has shown that he can handle pressure, he’s hungry to achieve and he’s moving in the right direction, so I don’t see why not.”

Gerrard has remained silent since the speculation kicked off at the weekend when Smith was axed after a defeat at Southampton, the team’s fifth consecutive reverse.

However, the former England international midfielder IS interested in the Villa job, according to reports in the Daily Telegraph.

The Premier League club are allegedly set to make a formal approach to the Ibrox outfit regarding a move for Gerrard.

YOUR MOVE…Steven Gerrard has plenty to think about.

The 41-year-old manager is allegedly ready to speak to Villa’s hierarchy if they are granted permission to do so.

He is under contract at Ibrox until 2024, which reportedly includes a compensation clause worth more than £2million.

However, this would apparently be no hurdle for Villa’s owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.

If they get the go-ahead for favourable talks with Gerrard, they are said to be planning moves to bring in assistants Gary McAllister and Michael Beale.

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow reportedly told players yesterday that they could expect a new boss to be in charge by Monday.

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