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Villa executives told they must pay more than £4.1m compensation to Ajax

By Wayne Veysey | Chief correspondent

Aston Villa have made an approach for Martin Jol and are hopeful that the Ajax manager can be enticed to Villa Park to succeed Martin O’Neill.

Jol is keen to return to the Premier League and could even move to the Midlands as early as next week if Villa can meet Ajax’s demand for £4.1million compensation.

The former Tottenham manager is understood to be Villa’s first choice to succeed O’Neill, who resigned his post earlier this week after four years at the helm.

Villa have not been put off by Jol’s Fulham U-turn last month, when he agreed personal terms with the Londoners before deciding to remain in Holland after an exit clause in his contract was said to have become invalid.

However, it is believed that the Dutchman was disappointed at the salary of £1.2m-a-year that he was offered by Fulham.

Villa owner Randy Lerner is willing to offer a far more lucrative package to maintain the club’s status as a top six team.

It is understood that Villa executives have informally approached Jol’s representatives and have indicated that a salary of £2m-a-year would be on the table. The compensation clause written into Jol’s contract is not believed to be regarded as an insurmountable hurdle by the Premier League club.

Moving to Villa is regarded as a far more palatable switch in Jol’s homeland than a move to mid-ranking Fulham, which was seen in some quarters as an insult to a club with such a rich history.

The 54-year-old’s pedigree is attractive to Lerner and the Villa board. USA manager Bob Bradley is highly regarded and there is less serious interest in Sven-Goran Eriksson but Jol guided Tottenham to consecutive fifth-placed Premier League finishes before being sacked by chairman Daniel Levy in October 2007 in favour of Juande Ramos.

Since leaving White Hart Lane, Jol, who spent three seasons as a player in the West Midlands at West Brom in the 1980s, led Bundesliga club SV Hamburg to fifth in the League and a UEFA Cup semi-final and his Ajax team finished runners-up in the Eredivisie last season behind FC Twente.

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