CHELSEA last night appeared set to concede defeat - for now - in their attempts to secure Pep Guardiola as manager by preparing to announce that Roberto Di Matteo would remain in the post.
Despite leading Chelsea to a Champions League triumph, and winning the FA Cup, Di Matteo had to wait until the weekend to find out whether he would keep his job. It appears that he has been offered only a one-year deal.
Talks have been ongoing for the past week with Di Matteo increasingly confident that he would secure a deal although he will be disappointed at the length of contract.
Senior figures at the club remain unsure whether the former West Bromwich Albion manager is the right man to take over.
While hardly a ringing endorsement of Di Matteo, it is understood the Italian is prepared to accept the offer and is expected to sign a new contract when he returns from holiday in the United States later this week.
Despite his achievements, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had appeared reluctant to confirm Di Matteo and discussions took place as to whether Guardiola could be persuaded to take over.
Guardiola has maintained that he wants to take a year-long sabbatical from football. The problem for Di Matteo is that he will have to deal with the spectre of Guardiola being in the background.
Meanwhile, Abramovich is set to make a personal check on Poland forward Robert Lewandowski during Russia's Euro 2012 clash with the co-hosts in Warsaw.