Thierry Henry and John Terry are reportedly among the contenders for the Aston Villa manager’s job following Steve Bruce’s sacking on Wednesday.
Villa are currently 12th in the Sky Bet Championship after winning just three of their first 11 league games this season.
Bruce had come under increasing pressure after Villa’s poor start to the season and had a cabbage hurled at him during Tuesday night’s home draw with Preston.
Former Arsenal striker Henry, currently assistant manager to Roberto Martinez at Belgium, and Terry, who spent last season playing at Villa, have been linked with the job.
Sam Allardyce and Brentford manager Dean Smith have also been touted by bookmakers as Villa mull over their fifth permanent appointment in less than five years.
“Aston Villa Football Club can confirm that manager Steve Bruce and his assistants Colin Calderwood, Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence and Gary Walsh are leaving their posts with immediate effect after having their contracts terminated,” the club said on their official website on Wednesday.
“The process to appoint a new manager is under way.”
A further statement issued on behalf of the board added: “We would like to place on record our gratitude to Steve and his team for their hard work and commitment. We wish them well for the future.
“The process of recruiting a new manager has begun. In the meantime, Kevin MacDonald, Aston Villa Under-23s manager, will be in charge of the team for our trip to Millwall on Saturday.”
Bruce, who has won promotion to the Premier League with two different clubs – Birmingham and Hull – replaced Roberto Di Matteo at Villa Park in October 2016 and at least lasted significantly longer than his three immediate predecessors.
Di Matteo was in the hotseat for only 12 games, while Remi Garde and Tim Sherwood before him were also only in charge for a matter of months.
Owner Dr Tony Xia was reported to have cash flow problems and the club failed to pay a £4million tax bill in June before reaching an agreement with HM Revenue and Customs soon afterwards.
But a summer of upheaval appears to have taken its toll and, despite winning their first two league matches, Bruce’s side fell off the pace, with last month’s victory over Rotherham the only win in their last 10 games.
Former England defender Terry left the club this summer, while chief executive Keith Wyness and director of football Steve Round also departed Villa Park before the start of this term.