By Harry Sykes

Aston Villa’s most important signing this summer will be their new managerial appointment, Paul Merson told Sky Sports.

The Premier League mainstays could have their relegation confirmed this weekend, if the Midlands club fail to match Norwich’s result, confirming what has been seemingly inevitable for much of the season.

Villa are on the hunt for a new manager after sacking Remi Garde last week in the wake of a wretched run of results that leaves the club almost certainly heading to the Championship.

Speaking on the Fantasy Football Club podcast on Friday, former Villa playmaker Merson is convinced that an experienced British manager should be appointed to lead the club back into the English top flight.

“Their biggest signing is their next manager,” Merson said. “[David] Moyes, [Nigel] Pearson or [Mick] McCarthy would sort them out.

“I’d like to see Ian Taylor involved at the club, not just as ambassador but properly involved. He loves the club, he is a big Villa fan, the fans love him.”

The hunt for the successor to Garde is in the hands of a new-look Villa board which includes former FA chief David Bernstein and ex-manager Brian Little.

Target man: Pearson has been shortlisted by Villa to replace Garde

Target man: Pearson has been shortlisted by Villa to replace Garde

Bernstein has made it clear in interviews that the club are looking for an experienced British boss to lead a major rebuilding job.

Pearson, who has been out of work since being sacked by Leicester last summer, is the current bookmakers’ favourite for the post, narrowly ahead of Ipswich manager McCarthy, Hull boss Steve Bruce and Moyes, who is not currently attached to a club.

In other Aston Villa news, one of the club’s longest-standing players is set to be offloaded this summer.