Aston Villa owner Tony Xia could be set to miss out on his preferred managerial target with Roberto Di Matteo in talks with Lazio.
The wealthy Chinese businessman discussed his plans for the Championship outfit earlier this week, insisting that the transfer budget and potential summer targets will depend on the manager.
Ultimately, the appointment will be a critical one for Villa who will hope to make an immediate return to the Premier League next season, but they could be left disappointed in their pursuit of their number one option.
Speculation has linked former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo with the role since Xia completed his takeover of the club, but according to Sky Sports, the Italian tactician is in talks with Lazio who are also looking for a new manager this summer.
Di Matteo appeared to fit the bill perfectly for Villa given his previous experience of getting West Bromwich Albion promoted before leading Chelsea to the Champions League. However, a return to his homeland could be his preferred option with the capital club looking for a long-term successor to Simone Inzaghi.
The likes of David Moyes and Nigel Pearson could now arguably move to the top of Villa’s wish-list, but it remains to be seen whether or not they are capable of impressing the new ownership enough to convince them that they match their ambition moving forward.
Nevertheless, it is still unclear at this stage as to whether Di Matteo will opt for Lazio instead, as the appeal of overseeing such a drastic revival at Villa Park could be enough to persuade him to return to England to continue his management career after a seven-month spell with Schalke came to an end last year.