Aston Villa set to confirm Roberto Di Matteo as new manager on Friday

Xia Jiantong, the chairman of Recon Group, who has agreed to buy English soccer club Aston Villa, speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office in Beijing,

The former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is set to be confirmed as the new manager of Aston Villa on Friday, with Steve Clarke to act as his assistant. The Italian will sign a two-year contract and take over from Rémi Garde, who was sacked in March having won just two of the 20 Premier League matches he was in charge for.

Related: Tony Xia hopes revamp will turn Aston Villa into one of world’s top three clubs

Di Matteo, who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012 but has been out of work since leaving the German side Schalke at the end of last season, will be assisted by Clarke, who was sacked by Reading in December and has also managed West Bromwich Albion.

Villa also held talks with the new Derby County manager Nigel Pearson, although Di Matteo, who still has a house in Leamington Spa from his time in charge at West Brom, was always first choice for the prospective new owner Tony Xia. The Chinese businessman’s takeover of Villa is still awaiting Football League and Premier League approval but he has previously vowed to transform Villa into one of the world’s top three clubs.

Xia has already promised extensive funds to aid the club’s push for an immediate return to the Premier League, with a number of high-earners expected to remain next season.

Di Matteo, who guided West Brom to promotion in his first season after joining from MK Dons, now has extensive experience as a manager having served first as an assistant to André Villas-Boas before being promoted when the Portuguese was sacked. However, during his solitary season in Germany Schalke finished sixth in the Bundesliga.

The 46-year-old is expected to lean heavily on the influence of Clarke, who also served as an assistant to José Mourinho at Chelsea before performing the same duties at Liverpool under Kenny Dalglish.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Marcus Christenson, for The Guardian on Thursday 2nd June 2016 16.08 Europe/London

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