Houllier set to leave Villa - report
Gerard Houllier will reportedly leave Aston Villa after medical tests revealed that he would be taking too big a risk by returning to work.
Houllier, who underwent heart surgery when Liverpool manager a decade ago, signed a three-year deal in September last year, but suffered further heart problems in April and was admitted to hospital, missing the end of the season.
According to the Birmingham Mail, the 63-year-old Frenchman will stand down by mutual consent but still has two thirds of his £8 million contract left to run, with an announcement over his future due on Wednesday.
Villa have already been linked with the likes of Everton manager David Moyes, Fulham boss Mark Hughes and former England coach Steve McClaren, but have yet to confirm the decision to release Houllier after the side finished ninth in the Premier League this season.
Meanwhile, Stewart Downing has praised the contribution of Houllier but insists Aston Villa will not influence decisions regarding his own future.
''If he (Houllier) doesn't continue, then good luck to him and I wish him well,'' he said. ''I'll be sorry to see him go if that is the case. He was good to me. I had no problems with him. He came in at a tough time.
''He did quite well with the team. I've enjoyed working with him. If he stays, brilliant, if he goes, I wish him all the best. His illness is a shame for him and stopping him from doing what he wants to do.
''I'm sure Randy Lerner (club owner) and Paul Faulkner (chief executive) will get the right man if there is a change. I'm sure they will come out with (what is) the best outcome for the club.''