Tony Popovic has been given until Tuesday to accept the challenge of resuscitating crisis-ravaged Melbourne Victory - or the club’s board will look elsewhere for a successor to Grant Brebner.
Discussions between Victory and Popovic - currently in Croatia following his recent exit from Greek side Xanthi - were underway even before Saturday night’s 7-0 derby disaster against Melbourne City sealed Brebner’s fate.
Those discussions have now been fast-tracked, as Victory look to appoint a proven A-League performer to mastermind their resurrection after the most ruinous season in their history.
Whilst the former Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory coach ponders a possible return to Australia, the board is conducting an inquest into a record of flawed coaching and player recruitment over the past two years, with CEO Trent Jacobs and technical chief Drew Sherman firmly in their cross-hairs and unlikely to survive beyond this season.
A radical rebuild is planned, with Victory’s four highly-touted off-season imports - Ryan Shotton, Callum McManaman, Rudy Gestede and Jacob Butterfield - also in the firing line.
All four have two-year contracts, which the club is likely to pay out to clear the decks.
Similarly, assistant coach Steve Kean - recruited at Brebner’s behest - is expected to depart at season’s end.
Though Popovic continues to nurse ambitions of furthering his career in Europe, his departure from second-tier Xanthi - driven by internal factions despite the club sitting high on the second tier ladder - provided a salutary reminder at the ruthless nature of coaching off-shore.
Should he decline a homecoming, Wellington’s Ufuk Talay may be approached as a fallback option, though no dialogue has as yet been entered into.