Marcelo Bielsa has landed in England to hold talks with Everton over their vacant manager’s job.
The former Leeds boss, who Sportsmail revealed as the the club’s first-choice, has arrived in London from Brazil ahead of formal discussions with the Toffees.
There is an acknowledgement from Everton that they face an uphill battle to get a deal for Bielsa over the line, namely his reservations over whether the current squad can adapt to his high-energy style.
However, the very fact Bielsa has flown to the capital to meet Everton has sparked optimism that a deal may not be out of reach.
It is now up to Everton to persuade Bielsa to replace Frank Lampard, who lost his job on Monday.
The Toffees have explored back-up options if they fail to convince Bielsa, who earned upwards of £11million a year at Elland Road, to take the job.
Sportmail can reveal that Davide Ancelotti – son of former manager Carlo – has been discussed as an alternative.
The 33-year-old coach, who worked under his father at Goodison Park, is currently part of the backroom team at Real Madrid, where Carlo is manager.
And Everton are keen to talk to Ancelotti Jr if they cannot land Bielsa and are readying a formal approach to the Spanish club.
His lack of managerial experience may work against Ancelotti but such an appointment would excite supporters.
Sean Dyche is also emerging as strong candidate behind Bielsa. The former Burnley manager is open to joining and talks behind the scenes have taken place in recent days.
There had been a reluctance to appoint Dyche at the start of the week, but he is emerging now as a viable option to Bielsa.
Should Bielsa reach an agreement with Everton, it would be his first role back in the dugout since he left Elland Road last February.
During his four-year stay at the Yorkshire club, Bielsa guided Leeds back to the Premier League and then to a ninth-placed finish in their first year back in the top-flight.