It is believed that Chelsea are ready to offer their full-time managerial role to Roberto Di Matteo, according to The Daily Mail.
The Italian started as Stamford Bridge boss on an interim basis after the sacking of Andre Villas Boas last term, and turned the club’s fortunes around to lead them to FA Cup and Champions League glory.
Despite the temporary man’s heroics, it was thought that Blues owner Roman Abramovich wanted a top-drawer and experienced manager to lead his squad next season.
Outgoing Barcelona trainer Pep Guardiola was the Russian oil tycoon’s number one preference, but the Spanish coach has made his decision to take time away from the game known, and as such is no longer an option.
With Guardiola not available and Marcelo Bielsa and Jose Mourinho also signing new contracts at Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid respectively, the west London team are set to offer the role to Di Matteo.
The side are on a recruitment drive this summer, with Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Kevin De Bruyne already signing up for next term, and as such expectations are through the roof for 2012-13.
By Gareth McKnight