According to reports, Giovanni Trapattoni is in talks with the Republic of Ireland over becoming their new coach - facing Italy in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The veteran Italian tactician is currently boss of Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg but sources have told Sky Sports that he is close to agreeing a return to international management.
Having engaged in discussions with key figures within the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) hierarchy, Trapattoni is believed to be warming to the idea of becoming Steve Staunton's successor. Staunton left the post after failing to qualify for the UEFA Euro 2008 finals.
Trapattoni has one of the most impressive CVs in world football, having managed AC Milan, Fiorentina, Inter and Juventus twice - along with the Italian national side between 2000 and 2004.
He enjoyed two stints at German giant Bayern Munich, before recently spending spells at Benfica in Portugal, Stuttgart back in Germany and now Salzburg.
The FAI remain hopeful that a new coach will be in place before the friendly with Brazil on 6th February, but for the time being team affairs are being handled by Don Givens, Don Howe and Ray Houghton.
After England picked Italian Fabio Capello for their 2010 World Cup campaign, Ireland could follow a similar path.
It will be an interesting choice, as Italy are in Ireland’s World Cup qualifying Group 8. They Irish travel to Italy on 1 April 2009, before the match in Dublin on 10 October 2009.
David O'Leary, Lawrie Sanchez, Terry Venables, Steve Coppell, Gerard Houllier and former Sampdoria, Juventus and Inter player Liam Brady have all previously been linked with the post but it looks as though Trapattoni could be the FAI's surprise choice.
Source: Sky Sports