Football: Di Matteo to take over at Aston Villa

Aston Villa have appointed former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo as their new manager, the BBC reported on Thursday (June 2).
Aston Villa have appointed former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo as their new manager, the BBC reported on Thursday (June 2).PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES/CARL RECINE

LONDON (AFP) - Roberto Di Matteo has agreed to become the new manager of Aston Villa with the Birmingham club set to confirm the Italian's appointment on Friday, several British media outlets reported.

The former Chelsea manager is in line to be named as the successor to Remi Garde, with the Frenchman sacked in March ahead of Villa's relegation from the Premier League.

Di Matteo, 45, guided Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012 and is understood to be well regarded by Villa's new Chinese owner Dr Tony Xia.

The former Chelsea midfielder still has a house near Birmingham from his time as manager of Villa's local rivals West Bromwich Albion.

Di Matteo has been out of management since resigning as the boss of German side Schalke a year ago.

He last managed at Championship level when overseeing West Brom's promotion to the Premier League in 2010.

Reports suggested that Di Matteo would be assisted at Villa by former Chelsea team-mate Steve Clarke.

The Scot has been out of work since his sacking by Reading last year.

As a coach, Clarke worked under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea for three years.

Clarke, like Di Matteo, is a former West Brom manager and took the Baggies to their highest Premier League finishing position of eighth in 2013.

Xia recently bought Villa from US businessman Randy Lerner, who had been looking to sell the club since 2014.

But the 39-year-old Chinese still needs to satisfy English football authorities that he is a "fit and proper person" to run a club before they will give their approval to his takeover of Villa.

Investigations into Xia's conglomerate, Recon Group, are being carried out jointly by the Premier League and Football League because former European champions Villa, whose relegation ended a 29-year spell in English football's top flight, do not officially become a Championship club until later this month.