Aston Villa have moved a step closer to appointing Roberto Di Matteo as manager following further talks with the Italian.
It is understood Di Matteo spoke again on Thursday with Villa chairman Steve Hollis, who now hopes to name the former West Brom and Chelsea boss as Remi Garde’s successor in the coming days.
The 45-year-old has always been the number one choice for prospective new owner Dr Tony Xia. David Moyes and Nigel Pearson were also interviewed for the job but it is thought Di Matteo’s achievements at Chelsea – winning the Champions League in 2012 – 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.
Meanwhile, Xia’s takeover of the club is also edging closer to completion as it awaits both Premier League and Football League approval.
The Chinese businessman, 39, recently bought Villa from American Randy Lerner, who had been looking to sell since 2014.
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 June.