By Wayne Veysey

14th Sep, 2021 | 6:57am

Sources: Smith 'fighting for his job' at Aston Villa as manager masterplan revealed

Dean Smith will come under increasing pressure at Aston Villa if he can not oversee a turnaround ahead of the next international break, Football Insider has learned.

The Midlands giants have taken four points from their opening four Premier League matches and have a tough run of fixtures over the next few weeks.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that Smith will be fighting for his job if the club do not climb up the table from their current 12th position.

Villa’s three Premier League matches ahead of the next international break are against Everton, Man United and Tottenham.

All three sides have taken at least nine points from their opening four league matches.

Owners Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris, as well as chief executive Christian Purslow, are fiercely ambitious and are expecting a big improvement on last season’s 11th-place finish despite the summer sale of Jack Grealish.

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Smith’s position has been weakened by the exits of John Terry and Richard O’Kelly from his coaching staff.

Both quit shortly before the new Premier League season and sources say the manager’s relationship with Purslow is not a strong one.

It is said the Villa hierarchy will not hesitate to begin the search for a new manager if there are not significant improvements to the results and performances.

Villa spent heavily over the summer in an attempt to soften the blow of Grealish’s departure.

They paid £25million-plus fees for Emiliano Buendía, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings, and also recruited Ashley Young on a free transfer and Axel Tuanzebe on loan from Man United.

Ings has made the biggest impact of the new arrivals, while Bailey has yet to make his first start for the club after two substitute appearances.

In other news, we can reveal the extraordinary sum Man City paid Grealish and his camp to ‘fix’ Aston Villa transfer.