By Wayne Veysey

29th Jul, 2021 | 11:07am

Sources: Smith in talks to lure Downing to Aston Villa but Purslow could pull the plug

Dean Smith wants Keith Downing to replace John Terry on his Aston Villa coaching staff, Football Insider has learned.

But Villa chief executive Christian Purslow is not convinced at hiring the Bristol City assistant manager.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that Smith has held talks with Downing about joining his backroom team, which has a vacancy following John Terry’s exit earlier this week.

But Purslow could pull the plug on any potential deal as he would prefer a more high-profile figure in Terry’s mould.

Villa announced on Monday that the Chelsea legend was leaving his role as their assistant manager.

Terry, who played 32 games for the team in the 2017-18 season before becoming assistant to Smith, said he wanted to spend “quality time” with his family before stepping up plans to become a manager.

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He had been Smith’s number two at Villa since October 2018 but never made any secret of his managerial ambitions.

Terry had been in the frame for the Bristol City, Derby County and Bournemouth jobs at various points last season and is believed to have had some interviews.

His departure leaves a coaching hole that Smith is keen to fill.

Downing, 56, has extensive experience and is highly regarded by the Villa manager as well as those in football circles.

The former Wolves midfielder has held various coaching roles at Football League clubs and was head coach of England Under-20s before joining Bristol City last August.

In other news, blockbuster Aston Villa transfer set to be completed “next week” after terms agreed.