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Melbourne Victory are set to make a renewed play for Ange Postecoglou as their next A-League coach after Jim Magilton’s departure on Sunday.
Brisbane Roar coach Postecoglou is understood to be top of the Victory’s hit-list after Magilton declined to take part in the interview process – the Northern Irishman believing he had been told the job was already his.
Now Melbourne-raised Postecoglou has emerged as the man Victory want – and will do pretty much anything to get – including delaying any announcement until after the Roar’s finals campaign ends should he agree to return to Victoria.
The Victory are refusing to comment on any speculation linking coaches to the vacancy.
Postecoglou, who has two years to run on his current Roar contract, was wooed heavily by the Victory after they sacked Ernie Merrick just over 12 months ago.
Instead, he rejected their overtures and chose to remain at the Roar as they underwent a change of ownership.
The club’s new Indonesian owners are currently in talks to extend Postecoglou’s contract again and give him wider responsibilities after establishing the Roar as the A-League’s benchmark team.
As the Roar combine A-League finals and Asian Champions League commitments, Postecoglou now faces having to fend off questions about whether he will leave the club to join the Victory at a critical time of the season.
Brisbane are currently readying for their ACL match in Korea against Ulsan Hyundai on Wednesday.
Interestingly, bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au has slashed Postecoglou’s price to be next Victory coach from $17 at the start of Monday to $1.50 by mid-afternoon – saying 80 per cent of bets had been for the former South Melbourne coach.
Former Chelsea playing great Gianfranco Zola appears an unlikely candidate for the Victory role.
Reports emerged on Monday that Zola, whose daughter is currently in Australia, could be on his way to Melbourne.
But if the Victory are to sign Zola, they will face competition from his former English club Chelsea and Italian giants Lazio.
Italian reports claim Zola has been lined up to take over at Lazio next season, while Chelsea want him to join their backroom staff.
Zola, who is currently working in the Italian media, has not coached since a stint at England’s West Ham ended in 2010.
Just a fortnight after the board, senior officials and Magilton held court at a Victory fans forum, spoke of their plans for the future, and appeared on the same page, the former Southampton and Ipswich Town player departed.
Magilton led the Victory to only two wins in his 12 A-League matches in charge, but appeared to have the board in his thrall and had been making plans for next season.
But after learning a longer-term contract was not necessarily a given, Magilton sought legal advice in Melbourne last week before walking away on Sunday.
Whoever the Victory appoint will be the fourth coach at the troubled club in just over a year.
After foundation coach Merrick’s sacking after taking the club to the finals, his replacement Mehmet Durakovic was axed six months into a two-year deal.
Then Magilton, who was brought to the club on a short-term contract, failed to get the club to the finals.
The Victory showed few signs of improvement under Magilton, finishing well out of the finals race in eighth spot.