Antonio Conte remains focussed on staying in charge of Chelsea for the rest of the season amid interest from Italy for him to return as the national coach.
New Italy Football Federation president Roberto Fabbricini claims that Conte is ‘eager’ to fill the role which has been vacant since Giampiero Ventura was fired in November.
Vice-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta has suggested he is flying to London in the next few days to interview Conte for the position.
The 48-year-old is expected to be available soon with many sources suggesting he will leave Chelsea in the summer despite having 12 months left on his contract.
But it is understood that when Conte depart Stamford Bridge, he wants to stay in club management rather than return to the Italy post, which he had between 2014-16.
He is still being targeted by AC Milan, who were hoping to hire him last summer when his issues with Chelsea’s transfer business first appeared.
The Serie A Giants replaced Vincenzo Montella with Gennaro Gattuso in November, but still have Conte in their sights.
Before taking charge of Italy, he won three titles in a row with Juventus and admitted earlier in the season that he will manage again in Italy one day.
Speaking in September, he said: “I miss it, that’s beyond doubt. Italy is my homeland, so once I have had some good experiences, formative experiences, important and life-changing experiences, I’ll be back. I don’t know when but that’s the aim.”
But Conte is also believed to be on the wish-list of Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid should they look to make a change in the dug-out.
Unai Emery’s future at PSG remains the subject of constant speculation despite the club dominating the title race in France.
Meanwhile, Zinedine Zidane is overseeing one of the worst seasons in Real Madrid’s history and may need to win the Champions League to stay.
Despite Conte struggling of late, Chelsea hope that now the January transfer window has closed and they have added Ross Barkley, Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud to the squad, the season can still end on a high.
The 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth in midweek has put Conte under more pressure.
They will be out of top four before they face Watford on Monday should Tottenham beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield a day earlier.
But with Chelsea having an FA Cup Fifth Round tie at home to Hull and the resumption of the Champions League, where they play Barcelona, the club still feels there is a lot to play for.
Sources in Italy also feel that former Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini is actually their first choice to take charge above Conte, while Claudio Ranieri and Carlo Ancelotti also in the frame.
Mancini is currently in charge of Zenit St Petersburg but the timing to appoint him would be perfect as the Russian season is on a winter break.
Italy want to make an announcement before they play two friendlies next month, both of which are being played in this country.
They face Argentina at the Etihad Stadium on March 23 before taking on England at Wembley four days later.