Remi Garde discusses Aston Villa's transfer policy, previous Premier League offer

Carlo Ancelotti with Remi Garde

The 49-year-old Frenchman was reported to have been approached by Newcastle United towards the end of last season.

New Aston Villa manager Remi Garde is content to work alongside a transfer committee at the club but insists that he will have final say on all signings.

Garde, 49, was speaking at his first official press conference as Villa boss, having signed a three-and-a-half-year deal to replace Tim Sherwood just hours before watching Monday night’s 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur from the stands at White Hart Lane.

Much was made of the club’s summer recruitment policy prior to his predecessor’s sacking last month, with sporting director Hendrik Almstadt and head of recruitment Paddy Reilly reported to have been responsible for the bulk of the 12 new signings rather than Sherwood [h/t Daily Mail].

Garde stresses that he is comfortable with a committee approach, however, having worked with a similar structure during his time as Lyon boss between 2011 and 2014, although he has been quick to reiterate that no signings will be made without his consent.

"It's something we're used to in France," said the former Arsenal midfielder. "I'm not completely lost with this kind of organisation. I think it's normal to have a sporting director - I had one at Lyon, where I also had a big chairman, a chief executive and a chief scout.

“What is normal is that I will have the final say, which is very important for me, but I cannot watch games all over Europe. You need people to support you, and I take this organisation as a support, not something I will struggle or fight with.

"We will have meetings and discuss where we can to improve the team, but I will say what I want and need."

Villa sit bottom of the Premier League with just four points from 11 games heading into Garde’s first match in charge against Manchester City on Sunday, having lost seven straight top-flight games and gone without a victory since winning 1-0 at Bournemouth on the opening day of the season.

The club will likely be looking to strengthen in the January transfer window as a result, but their new boss has been focusing on his Villa Park bow rather than writing up a list of potential targets.

“No, I’ve been in the club for only three days now,” said Garde when asked whether he had already made transfer plans. “My main target was to meet the players and give them some confidence quickly because, as you know, we have a little game on Sunday.

“I am really only focused on Sunday’s game. Then we will have an international break and after I will have time to look around me. There are a lot of things I need to record and discover and issues I need to fix.”

Garde, who left Lyon at the end of the 2013-14 season following a three-year reign that saw him win the French Cup and achieve a top three finish in Ligue 1, also confirmed that he rejected an approach from another Premier League club before taking over Villa.

Newcastle United are believed to have opened discussions with him towards the end of last term [h/t The Mirror] but the Frenchman refused to confirms the details, telling reporters: “Yes I did [receive another offer] but I said no because, the previous one, the serious one, it was in a period when I was not ready to start again.

“Regarding the way I left Lyon, I said to the chairman I wanted to stay honest, it was too early for me – that's it.”

In addition, he also denied that Villa had been in contact with him prior to Sherwood’s departure, adding: “No actually. I had a phone call just after he left the club and then everything went very quickly. I met the owner and Tom Fox as well and we had very good meetings.

“I would say that I had very good feelings with those two which convinced me to accept this very difficult mission.”

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