Following Manchester City's late-night decision to bring Roberto Mancini's three-and-a-half-year reign at the Etihad Stadium to an end, a host of top European clubs were placed on high alert.
A scramble for his services could spark off a managerial merry-go-round ahead of a summer of significant change on the continent.
Here we consider whether the charismatic Italian is destined to return to Serie A or to instead test himself at another of the new breed of big-spending clubs.
Should current Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri move sideways to Serie A rivals Inter Milan or Roma this summer, as has been widely predicted in Italy, Mancini could be tempted to take the reins at the Stadio San Paolo. His wife Federica hails from the city whose enterprising side have guaranteed themselves a second-placed finish behind Juventus and therefore ensuring more Champions League football, while Mancini could finally link up with long-term City target Edinson Cavani. The striker has scored 35 goals this season but is rumoured to be on the lookout for a move abroad.
PARIS ST GERMAIN
The Ligue 1 champions-elect have reportedly received an official approach from Real Madrid for manager Carlo Ancelotti and, should the Italian decide to leave the Parc des Princes, his countryman would be well-placed to take the Qatar Investment Authority's ambitious project forward. Mancini is now accustomed to having a large bank balance to support his recruitment drive and with star players including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi already on board the 48-year-old would have more than solid foundations for another tilt at the Champions League.
Wily Czech tactician Zdenek Zeman left Roma in February having failed to make an impact in Serie A with his uncompromising brand of attacking football, sparking a search for a new high-quality manager to boost the American-owned outfit into the Champions League. Temporary replacement Aurelio Andreazzoli has since led the Giallorossi into the Coppa Italia final while keeping the capital club on the edge of the Europa League places, but his role at the Stadio Olimpico was always understood to be on nothing more than an interim basis. Mancini - the former manager of fierce rivals Lazio - would face stiff competition from Napoli's Walter Mazzarri and ex-Bordeaux boss Laurent Blanc to take the hotseat.
The club from the Mediterranean principality have sealed their return to Ligue 1 after two years away with ambitious plans for European domination. Former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri remains the man in charge at Stade Louis II but the Monaco board have been long-term admirers of Mancini, with reports suggesting he has already met the club's Russian owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, and the Marchese coach could be offered an estimated £7million-per-year contract. Funds are available for heavy recruitment in the summer with Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao rumoured to be an imminent arrival in Fontvieille.
Mancini could well return to the club where he made his name as a coach. After winning the Coppa Italia with both Fiorentina and Lazio, the former striker brought three Serie A titles to San Siro while collecting two further Coppa Italia trophies and twice lifting the Supercoppa. Current Inter boss Andrea Stramaccioni is under intense pressure to keep his job having failed to secure European football - a factor which could dissuade Mancini - but should the Marchese return to Milan he would have to patch up his broken relationship with president Massimo Moratti. Amid rumours he was set to be sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho in May 2008, Mancini resigned before rescinding his decision, only for Moratti to confirm his sacking.
Last season's Champions League winners are widely expected to turn to former manager Jose Mourinho in the summer, following an inconsistent season under first Roberto Di Matteo and then interim boss Rafa Benitez, an unpopular figure at Stamford Bridge. Should chairman Roman Abramovic decline to renew his working relationship with the Portuguese, however, Mancini represents a viable alternative having tasted Premier League success in recent years. The Italian's poor record in continental competition could prove off-putting to the Russian billionaire, though.
AC Milan are yet to confirm current coach Massimiliano Allegri for the 2013-14 season despite the Tuscan steering the Rossoneri back into the Champions League picture after a dismal start to the season. Mancini's history as a successful Inter Milan boss could weaken his prospects of landing the other job at San Siro, however, while it remains to be seen if the 48-year-old could mend his broken relationship with striker and protege Mario Balotelli, who left Manchester City under a cloud in January following a publicised training ground bust-up with his coach.