Di Matteo 'serious' Chelsea candidate: official
LONDON - Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo is under "serious consideration" to be appointed on a permanent basis following the Blues' Champions League triumph, senior club officials said Sunday.
As the dust began to settle on Chelsea's victory over Bayern Munich, attention turned to the issue of Di Matteo's long-term future at Stamford Bridge following three remarkable months in charge.
The 41-year-old Italian took over after the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas in March and has steered the London club to FA Cup and Champions League victories.
Chelsea officials have so far refused to elaborate on Di Matteo's long-term future amid mounting calls for him to be appointed permanently.
However chairman Bruce Buck told Sky Sports Television on Sunday that Matteo would discover his fate "sooner rather than later" as Chelsea begin what is expected to be an extensive summer rebuilding process.
"He's done an amazing job, Robbie, he's enabled the players to get back the confidence they used to have and he's really got the players performing," Buck said.
"We've put (managerial speculation) aside for the last six or eight weeks, concentrating on Barcelona, the FA Cup and Bayern Munich, but I think now we have to sit down and figure that out.
"Roberto is certainly in the mix, he's done a great job and has to have serious consideration," Buck said.
The Chelsea chairman added that the club wanted a new manager in place before entering the summer transfer market.
"We really need to get the new manager on board before we can start talking about (signing) players," he said.
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay praised Di Matteo for masterminding a "phenomenal turnaround" in the club's season.
"It's been an incredible few months and a great ending last night with winning the trophy," Gourlay told Sky Sports.
"It's been an up-and-down season. We started reasonably well but we had a bad period around November, December, January.
"The performances and results weren't there so we had to make the change, we brought Robbie in as interim manager until the end of the season and we've seen a phenomenal change and a run of results which finished last night with winning the Champions League.
"There's a number of things we've got to look at and we'll review where we are and take it from there, but it's a phenomenal turnaround really."
Meanwhile Buck said Chelsea would hold talks with Didier Drogba's agent this week about possibly extending the Ivorian's stay at Stamford Bridge.
Drogba, who scored Chelsea's equaliser to set up extra-time before slotting the winning penalty, is out of contract with the club.
"Didier is a big-match player and he did it once again," Buck told Sky.
"I think (Chelsea chief executive) Ron Gourlay is going to sit down with his agent this week and we'll see where it goes.
"We have to do what's best for Chelsea Football Club and Didier has to do what's best for him, we'll just see how the discussions go."
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