Roberto Di Matteo looks like being the man to accept Aston Villa challenge
Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed as Aston Villa's new manager, according to reports.
Press Association Sport understands the club are set to make an official announcement on Friday when the former West Brom and Chelsea boss is expected to be named as successor to Remi Garde, who was sacked in March ahead of Villa's relegation from the Barclays Premier League.
Di Matteo, who guided Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012, is likely to be assisted by his former Stamford Bridge team-mate Steve Clarke.
The 45-year-old has always been the number one choice for prospective new owner Dr Tony Xia. David Moyes and Nigel Pearson, himself appointed Derby manager on Thursday, were also linked to the job at Villa Park but it is thought Di Matteo's achievements at Chelsea were most appealing to Xia as he looks to build Villa's profile in the Far East.
Di Matteo, who still has a house near Birmingham in Leamington Spa from his time in charge at West Brom, has been out of management since resigning as Schalke boss a year ago and has not managed at Championship level since steering the Baggies to promotion in 2010.
Clarke, out of work since being sacked by Reading last year, is highly regarded as a coach and worked under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea for three years. Like Di Matteo, the Scot also had some success at West Brom, taking them to their highest Premier League finish of eighth place in 2013.
Meanwhile, Xia's takeover of Villa is also edging closer to completion as it awaits both Premier League and Football League approval.
The Chinese businessman, 39, recently bought the club from American Randy Lerner, who had been looking to sell since 2014.
Xia needs to pass the customary test in order for his takeover of the club to be completed.
Investigations into Xia's conglomerate, Recon Group, are being carried out jointly by the Premier League and Football League as Villa, relegated from the top flight this season for the first time in 29 years, do not officially become a Sky Bet Championship club until later this month.