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Aston Villa Name Paul Lambert Their New Manager

Paul Lambert has become Aston Villa’s fourth manager in two years after walking out on Norwich City.

A Villa club statement read simply:

“The Board of Aston Villa are delighted to confirm that Paul Lambert has been appointed Villa manager.”

Norwich prohibited Lambert from talking to Villa earlier this week and refused his resignation in light of not being allowed to discuss a move to Villa.

It appears, though, that a compromise has been reached (ie Villa way pay compensation for Lambert) and Lambert will take charge of a side that finished perilously close to the relegation zone, in 16th place, last season.

After three successive top-six finishes under Martin O’Neill, the last two seasons have been very disappointing for Villa, who have slipped down the Premier League table under a succession of managers.

Gerard Houllier replaced O’Neill but had to quit last summer on health grounds, while former Birmingham boss Alex McLeish was never accepted by the Villa fans.

Lambert is reported to have been promised a £25m transfer budget from Randy Lerner, and one of his first targets is reported to be Norwich’s wantaway striker Grant Holt who has handed in a transfer request.

Holt scored 17 goals for Norwich last season and is seen as an ideal replacement for Emile Heskey, who quit Villa Park last month after his contract expired.

The 31-year-old has two years to run on his £15,000-a-week contract and had a transfer request recently rejected by the Canaries’ board.

Norwich are now determined to drive a hard bargain with Lambert by demanding £3m for their leading scorer from last season, which is nothing if Holt can produce 15 goals for Villa next season.