Jose Mourinho is understood to have agreed a deal to rejoin Chelsea and could officially return to Stamford Bridge on July 1.
The Real Madrid manager is said to have dined with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich at the La Famiglia restaurant in west London where he is said to have accepted a £10million-a-year deal – although he still has to negotiate his release from Real.
As Sportsmail exclusively revealed on Thursday, Abramovich will have to pay Real a £12m release clause.
This means that Mourinho’s first match back at the helm will be a friendly against a Singha All Stars XI in Thailand on July 17.
Mourinho’s former assistant, Andre Villas-Boas, on Thursday said he suspected a deal had already been struck to bring him back to the club where he enjoyed such success between 2004 and his dismissal in 2007.
‘I am pretty sure the decision has already been taken,’ said the Portuguese coach.
‘It seems that he is happy to return to England and Chelsea are one of the clubs who are looking for a manager and it seems very, very likely that he will end up there.
‘It’s extremely unlikely when someone makes it that public that something is not set out already.’
Discussing the impact Mourinho’s apparent impending return to Chelsea would have on the Premier League, Villas-Boas added: ‘He has a wonderful history in this league and I think it will be spectacular to have him back.
‘He would have a tremendous impact. The supporters have been calling his name and the players have too. In the end it’s the club owner who decides.
‘It seems that he is happy to return to England and Chelsea are one of the clubs who are looking for a manager and it seems very, very likely that he will end up there.’
When asked to sum up his relationship with Mourinho, Villas-Boas was reluctant to give a detailed description.
‘It’s fine,’ he said. ‘I haven’t seen him for years… I will shake his hand.’
Meanwhile, reports in Spain claim Mourinho is trying to tempt Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski to spurn Bayern Munich’s advances and join him at Chelsea if he returns.
Lewandowski scored all four goals in Dortmund’s 4-1 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Real.