US coach Bob Bradley (Getty)

(WFI) US coach Bob Bradley is tipped as a possible replacement for Martin O’Neill who dramatically quit as Aston Villa manager today.

O’Neill’s departure is good timing for Bradley, whose discussions with US
Soccer president Sunil Gulati about renewing his contract with the national team, which expires at the end of the year, appear to have stalled.

Talks are due to
resume after he takes charge of the USA’s friendly against Brazil on
Tuesday at the New Meadowlands Stadium but reports from the US suggest Bradley is seeking a new challenge.

Bradley may be favoured by Villa’s American owner Randy Lerner to take the reigns after guiding the USA to the round of 16 at the World Cup in South Africa.

The 52-year-old, who has managed the USA since the end of 2006, has previous experience of coaching Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, MetroStars and Chivas USA teams.

If Bradley was appointed Villa boss, he would become the first American to manage in the English Premier League or any top-flight division in Europe.

Speaking ahead of the USA’s clash with Brazil, Bradley fuelled speculation he may apply for the Villa job. “I am always excited about new and different challenges,” he told a press conference. “Certainly coaching in Europe at some point is something that I would love to do.”

Sven Goran Erikkson, Slaven Bilic, Martin Jol and Alan Curbishley are the other names in the frame to take over from O’Neill.

O’Neill’s shock resignation, ending his four-year reign at the Premier League club, came with just five days to go until the Premier League season opens. Villa also launch their UEFA Europa League campaign next week.

“I have enjoyed my time at Aston Villa immensely. It’s obviously a wrench to be leaving such a magnificent club,” O’Neill said in a statement.

The former Celtic manager gave no reason for his decision, but it is thought he was unhappy at the club’s sell-to-buy policy under US owner Randy Lerner. He was upset at the prospect of losing England midfielder James Milner to Manchester City and possibly Ashley Young to another club.

Milner and Young were both included in Fabio Capello’s England squad for the friendly clash with Hungary this Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Villa fans were struck a further blow today when full-back Nicky Shorey signed for arch rivals West Bromwich Albion.

O’Neill, 58, achieved three sixth-place league finishes in the EPL. He also took Villa to the League Cup final.

Aston Villa said that Kevin MacDonald, reserve team manager, had taken over as caretaker manager. The club’s first game of the season is a home match against West Ham at Villa Park on Saturday.

In June, Villa signed a three-year kit sponsorship deal with FxPro, a $50bn-a-month broker in foreign exchange markets, worth more than £10 million. It was the the largest commercial deal in the club’s history.

The club posted losses of £43.7m for 2008-09.

Beckham plans September return
David Beckham says he plans to make his return for the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy next month.

The 35-year-old was ruled out of England’s World Cup campaign and the start of the MLS season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the spring while on loan to AC Milan.

Beckham told Fox Soccer Channel that his doctor had told him he could be back in action in the middle of September, meaning the former England star could still play a part for the Galaxy in the MLS regular season.

On Saturday, Beckham met some of his old Real Madrid teammates when they played a pre-season friendly against the Galaxy before 89,134 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Madrid won the match 3-2.

Platini meets with Georgian football chiefs

UEFA president Michel Platini held meetings with football leaders in Georgia today to discuss plans to stage the 2013 Europa League final in the capital Tbilisi.

Platini and UEFA officials examined renovation plans for the M. Meskhi Lokomotiv Stadium being undertaken by the Georgian Football Federation.

The GFF is requesting UEFA money to help bring the venue up to the standards expected to host the Europa League showpiece.

By INSIDER editor

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