Rémi Garde has been announced as the new Aston Villa manager following the sacking of Tim Sherwood.
The former Lyon boss has taken the reins at Villa Park, and this jobs marks his return to football following a sabbatical since last summer when he left the French side.
But who is the Frenchman and can he rejuvenate a club sitting bottom of the Premier League?
Date of Birth: April 3, 1966
Place of Birth: L’Arbresle, France
Clubs Played For: Lyon, Strasbourg, Arsenal
International: France (6 caps, 0 goals)
Clubs Managed: Lyon, Aston Villa
What did he do as a player?
Garde played as defensive midfielder for Lyon, where he made 146 appearances before moving to Strasbourg and finally Arsenal, becoming Arsene Wenger’s first signing as Gunners manager.
He won the French second division with Lyon during the 1988/89 season as well as the 1997/98 Premier League title with Arsenal.
The sweeper was brought in by the North London outfit after Wenger, then managing Japanese side Nagoya Grampus, recommended the experienced player. However, Garde was there more to help his fellow countryman get his ideas across rather than play.
What did he achieve as manager of Lyon?
Garde became manager of Lyon in 2011 having been assistant coach under former Villa boss Gerard Houllier, along with working as a director at the club’s training complex. He finished fourth, third and fifth in his three seasons at the club, along with winning the French Cup in 2012.
As Lyon manager, he was under a lot of pressure due to the success of the club in recent years and being regarded as one of the biggest in the country. He had to deal with departures of top players such as Miralem Pjanic, Hugo Lloris and Jeremy Toulalan along with the rise of Paris-St-Germain who now have the finances to match any club.
Why is Villa a good fit?
The club brought in a number of French-speaking players in the summer. Some may argue that the number of new faces brought in, contributed to the downfall of Tim Sherwood. Garde however, will be accustomed to many of the summer signings at the Birmingham-based club including Idrissa Gueye, Jordan Ayew. Jordan Amavi and Jordan Veretout. He adopted a counter-attacking style but was also able to make his Lyon side a good passing team when they did have the ball. The squad includes the likes of Ayew and Gabriel Agbonlahor up front and so intelligent, attacking play may well be a perfect fit.
Is he known for working with young players?
During his spell as manager of Lyon, the Frenchman had to work on a tight budget and deal with a number of high profile departures. The former Lyon midfielder looked to the youth set-up and has a history of developing young talent. France international, Alexandre Lacazette is an ideal example having been given his chance in the first-team by Garde. In the 2014/15 campaign, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi scored more league goals than Lacazette. With Jack Grealish already a bright prospect for the Villans, the fans will be hoping the new man develops some more first-team talent from within their youth system.
What are the positives and negatives?
Garde is expected to be watching Aston Villa on Monday as they take on Spurs at White Hart Lane. This will offer a good chance for the 49-year-old to have a look at his team properly for the first time. The Claret and Blue fans may well be worried by his lack of experience though. He has only been a manager for three seasons and this was in a league completely different to the English top-flight. However, he has a history of developing younger players, he has a reputation of being very tactical and he knows the new faces. A gamble based on his experience, but perhaps the fresh appointment Villa needed?
What they say?
“It was almost as if he was there to teach the rest of us what Wenger wanted in terms of his passing, movement and attitude.”- Former Arsenal defender Adrian Clarke.
Did you know?
Remi Garde didn’t make more than 11 appearances in a single season during his time at Arsenal.