LONDON • Aston Villa's caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald says Remi Garde remains the leading candidate to take over the struggling Premier League club, despite reports a deal with the Frenchman has collapsed.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has also backed his former player for the hot seat vacated by Tim Sherwood, who was fired last Sunday after six straight losses.
Lyon manager Garde, 49, is the main target for Villa owner Randy Lerner, but he is keen on bringing his assistant coaches Bruno Genesio and Gerald Baticle with him, and the French club's president has said they are going nowhere.
That was believed to have put the appointment in jeopardy but MacDonald still expects former Arsenal midfielder Garde to get the job eventually.
"Obviously, the hierarchy think he is the man for the job," MacDonald told a press conference ahead of tomorrow's clash against Tottenham Hotspur.
"I've been told I need to prepare the team for Monday. Whether Remi has been given the position and is maybe in the stand to watch, I don't know, that is going to be an ongoing thing. "
According to the Telegraph, Villa hope to announce Garde's hiring before next Sunday's game against Manchester City.
Garde, a pundit with French TV station Canal Plus, cancelled his media duties this weekend to focus on ironing out a 31/2- year deal. It is understood that Lerner met him earlier last week.
He was well liked during a three-year spell at Lyon but left in 2014 for personal reasons.
Said Wenger who signed Garde for Arsenal in 1996: "Remi is an intelligent man who has experience in Lyon now."
Aston Villa are bottom of the Premier League with just four points from 10 games.