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Villa willing to shell out for Lambert

ESPN staff
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Paul Lambert led Norwich to 12th in the Premier League this season © PA Photos
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Paul Lambert could be announced as the new manager of Aston Villa within 24 hours after it emerged that the Midlanders are ready to pay Norwich compensation.

On Thursday Norwich confirmed that Lambert, on a rolling contract at Carrow Road, had offered his resignation but it had been refused.

Reports on Wednesday suggested the manager had rowed with the board after being refused permission to talk to Villa, who sacked Alex McLeish a day after losing 2-0 to the Canaries in the final game of the season.

It is believed Villa will have to pay around £1 million in compensation to ensure that Lambert, 42, becomes their fourth manager in less than two years.

The Scot went to the top of the Midlands club's list after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer turned down the job and Roberto Martinez pledged his future to Wigan.

Villa are reported to be optimistic that the deal for Lambert can be completed soon, with the club's owner, Randy Lerner, thought to be likely to give the Scot money to spend in the transfer market. The manager will also be able to use cash generated by player sales to strengthen the squad.

Lambert led Norwich to the Premier League, achieving back-to-back promotions from League One and finishing in 12th place in the top flight this season.

He took over at Carrow Road with the club at its lowest ebb for decades after the Colchester he managed inflicted a 7-1 home defeat on the first day of the League One season.

Norwich have vowed to continue the progress made under Lambert's management, and a club statement said: "When Paul joined us in August 2009, we were in 66th position in the English football pyramid and the club was on the brink of financial meltdown.

"Today we are a Premier League football club, on a financially sound footing and with a stadium full to capacity.

"The club does not need to sell any players and the finances are in place to substantially strengthen the excellent squad which helped us finish in 12th position in the Premier League last season.

"Rest assured that everyone behind the scenes at Carrow Road remains absolutely focused on continuing to help the club progress."

The Canaries also expressed sincere gratitude to Lambert for his work at the club, adding: "Paul has already earned his place in Norwich City history and, no matter what happens, will always have a friendly welcome at Carrow Road."

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