Houllier set to sign two-year Villa deal

FORMER Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier is poised to complete an emotional return to the Premier League by signing a two-year contract with Aston Villa.

Houllier, who left Anfield in 2004 after six years at the helm, is thought to have agreed a deal to become Martin O’Neill’s permanent successor. The Frenchman, who is currently his country’s technical director, is expected to install his former Liverpool assistant Phil Thompson as his No2 at Villa Park.

Houllier won the Uefa Cup, the FA Cup, two League Cups, a European Super Cup and a Charity Shield during his spell on Merseyside. He also earned an honorary OBE for services to British football, but his tenure was interrupted by a major health scare in October 2002, when he needed five months off to recover from emergency heart surgery. The 63-year-old’s last management role was at Lyon, where he spent two seasons, winning the French league title in both years before leaving in 2007.