Everton are set to announce Ronald Koeman as their new manager after the weekend, the Mirror reports.
The Tofees have now made a formal approach to the Dutchman’s club Southampton, and are hoping to agree a compensation figure in excess of £3m for their first choice to succeed the sacked Roberto Martinez.
After initially showing little enthusiasm for the Goodison post, Koeman has now indicated he is ready to accept the challenge of steering the Blues into the top four.
And that has prompted Saints to begin their own search for a replacement, with Frank De Boer, Eddie Howe, Ryan Giggs and, ironically, Martinez himself all coming into the frame.
A deal has yet to be finalised to make Koeman the next Everton boss, but it is understood talks have progressed well.
Southampton have also made clear they would not stand in the 48-year-old’s way or improve the contract offer already on the table, should he refuse to sign an extension to a deal that runs to the end of next season.
The South Coast club are ready to back their belief in the management structure which has seen them find a head coach who takes the team forward from where the previous incumbent left it.
Koeman did it when Maurico Pochettino departed for Tottenham, just like the Argentinian did after replacing Nigel Adkins.
Howe is an obvious choice, though it seems he is happy at Bournemouth and would be reluctant to take the controversial move along the coast to their nearest top-flight neighbours.
De Boer, however, offers a similar CV to the one which won ex-Feyenoord boss Koeman the job, and after leaving Ajax at the end of the season he is in position to take the reins immediately.
Giggs would certainly be interested in the role as he mulls over a future away from Manchester United after 29 years, though there is a feeling he does not yet have the experience required to lead the Saints.
But Martinez appears a more appealing prospect.
His belief in both an attacking style and youth an attractive prospect to the St Mary’s hierarchy, who want to continue with the blueprint that has seen them develop their own players and feed them into a structure which has delivered considerable success.