Villa confirm Di Matteo as new manager

London (AFP) – Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed as the new manager of Aston Villa, the club confirmed on Friday.

The former Chelsea manager replaces Frenchman Remi Garde, who was 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. 

Italian boss Di Matteo, whose appointment was widely reported by British media on Thursday night, 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 the promotion of West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham club Villa’s local rivals, from English football’s second-tier to the Premier League in 2010.

Now Di Matteo hopes to do the same thing with Villa, whose relegation saw the former European champions drop out of English football’s top division for the first time in 29 years.

“It’s a wonderful honour for me to become manager of this great football club and I’m looking forward to the challenge of taking Aston Villa back to its rightful place,” said Di Matteo.

Reports have 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 do not officially become a Championship club until later this month.

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