Roberto Di Matteo is set to make a return to English football for the first time since 2012.

Aston Villa hopeful of appointing Roberto Di Matteo by end of week

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Aston Villa are hopeful of appointing Roberto Di Matteo as their new boss by the end of the week.

The club have been in talks with the Italian and he is close to becoming their fourth manager in just over 16 months, Press Association Sport understands.

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There are still minor issues to resolve and the deal has not been finalised but Di Matteo is expected to be the man to try to guide Villa back into the Premier League.

They were relegated last season, dropping out of the top flight for the first time since 1987, and won just three league games to finish bottom.

Di Matteo, who won the Champions League as Chelsea boss in 2012, has been out of working since leaving Schalke last summer.

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Nigel Pearson was also in the frame but his decision to join Derby last month cleared the way for Di Matteo, the choice of prospective new owner Tony Xia.

The Chinese businessman is still waiting for his takeover to be rubber stamped and Xia and his team of board members must also pass the Football League's Owners and Directors' Test before an official changing of hands is confirmed, despite striking a deal with Randy Lerner for a reported ?60million.

But, despite any delay in the buyout, the club are expected to appoint Di Matteo as Remi Garde's successor barring any late U-turn.

Di Matteo won promotion from the Sky Bet Championship with West Brom in 2009 having started his managerial career at MK Dons a year earlier.

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Premier League
Aston Villa
Roberto Di Matteo

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