By Wayne Veysey

8th Nov, 2021 | 7:30am

Sources: Watford line up Shakespeare move as Aston Villa hold new manager talks

Craig Shakespeare could join Claudio Ranieri’s coaching team at Watford following his exit from Aston Villa, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.

There was no mention of Shakespeare in the Villa statement on Sunday afternoon announcing the sacking of Smith as manager.

But a Villa source has told Football Insider that Shakespeare has followed Smith out of the club and could make an immediate Premier League return at Watford.

He is wanted by Ranieri to join his backroom team at the Hornets and help the club’s push for Premier League survival.

Shakespeare was most memorably the assistant manager to Ranieri when Leicester City won the Premier League title against all odds in 2016.

He also had a short, eight-month spell at Watford on Nigel Pearson’s coaching staff that ended when they were sacked in July 2020.

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The former midfielder, 58, was then appointed to Smith’s backroom team at Villa, working as assistant head coach alongside John Terry.

Shakespeare is highly regarded as a coach and also had a spell as manager of Leicester following Ranieri’s exit.

The clearing of the decks at Villa follows the exits of Terry and Richard O’Kelly on the eve of the season.

The Midlands giants are set to hold talks with prospective candidates this week as they look to get a new manager in place before the Premier League return the weekend after next.

Football Insider, which first revealed Smith was fighting to save his job at Villa before detailing how he was facing the sack if they lost to Southampton on Friday night, has learned Terry is a firm candidate to take over.

In other news, Agbonlahor issues “worrying” Aston Villa claim after what he’s heard directly from Villa Park.