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Hughes' Fulham deal expires

Mark Hughes' contract at Fulham expired on Wednesday night, fuelling rumours the Welshman is set to leave Craven Cottage to take up the recently vacated position at Aston Villa.

Hughes set to take over Villa reins?
Houllier resigns as manager of Villa

Hughes did not put pen to paper prior to his June 1 contract deadline expiring, though the Daily Mail has reported that further talks with the Fulham board are expected to take place.

The 47-year-old led Fulham to an eighth-place finish this campaign and no doubt Cottagers' officials will hope to sway Hughes' decision with their Europa League spot next season thanks to the club topping the Fair Play table.

Aston Villa, meanwhile, parted ways with Gerard Houllier earlier on Wednesday evening due to recent health problems suffered by the Frenchman.

Houllier left reluctantly stating that he had medical evidence which proved he would be fit for a pitch-side return in September. It is believed the former Liverpool boss has pocketed £5 million during his nine-month stint, equating to over £150,000 per match.

"I am extremely disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to manage Aston Villa next season. My health has improved considerably since I was taken ill on April 20. I now intend to take the next few months to concentrate on recuperating fully before I may return to football," Houllier said in a statement on Wednesday.

Other managers to be linked to the Villa role include Houllier's assistant Gary McAllister, Rafa Benitez, former Spurs' boss Martin Jol and Everton's David Moyes.

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