x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Chelsea close in on Di Matteo appointment

Abramovich set to appoint interim coach on full-time basis this week after Champions League success.

Roberto Di Matteo parades the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup trophies.
Roberto Di Matteo parades the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup trophies.

LONDON // Roberto Di Matteo is likely to sign a contract as Chelsea's permanent manager before the end of the week.

Outline agreement has been reached on a multi-year deal for the Italian who guided the club to a Champions League and FA Cup double as 'interim first-team coach'.

It is understood that Di Matteo will be granted a basic salary in excess of the £4million paid to his predecessor Andre Villas-Boas. Incentives will exceed the £1m bonus the former Chelsea midfielder earned for last season's cup successes, and there is not expected to be any end-of-season break clause included in the contract.

Talks are scheduled this week to resolve the details of an agreement that would see Di Matteo installed as the sixth permanent appointment since Roman Abramovich purchased the club in the summer of 2003. The 42-year-old will follow Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti and Villas-Boas in a position only the first manager to hold for more than two complete campaign.

Despite Di Matteo's success in turning around what had degenerated into statistically the worst season of the Abramovich era, the Russian billionaire had sought to hand the position over to Pep Guardiola.

Although the outgoing Barcelona coach intends to further his career in the Premier League, and is open to the idea of doing so at Chelsea, Guardiola refused to forgo a planned sabbatical in order to take over this summer.

While waiting for Chelsea top open negotiations over a permanent contract Di Matteo had been shortlisted to replace Alex McLeish at Aston Villa, Edy Reja at Lazio and Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool.

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