Socceroos kick off hunt for new coach
AN Italian who once briefly coached Vince Grella is among the names on a longlist of candidates being assessed by Football Federation Australia to succeed Ange Postecoglou as coach of the Socceroos.
Gianni de Biasi, most recently coach of Albania, has held preliminary talks with Australian officials about his interest in the role.
But it's being emphasised that De Biasi, who briefly coached Grella at Torino in Italy's Serie A, is just one of a number of possible candidates sounded out to oversee the post-Postecoglou era.
With Postecoglou having announced his departure at the end of the 2018 World Cup campaign, it's understood that FFA have canvassed a variety of names - and nationalities - to take on the role.
The 61-year-old De Biasi, who lead Albania to qualification for the 2016 European Championships, the country's first major tournament, has told Albanian media that he has held talks with Australian officials.
"A few days ago I met with the Australian national team and the decision (will be) taken after September," he said
"I had some other conversations (with other teams), but as the teams appear good, I am still on vacation."
Di Biassi had coached entirely in Italy before the Albanian appointment, bar one season with Levante in La Liga.
However it's understood that the net is being cast widely by FFA, with no bias towards an Australian or overseas candidate.
The most experienced Australian figure, Graham Arnold, held the job for a year from 2006-07, and is not thought to want to take it on again.
Australia is currently third in Group B of the final stage of qualifying, needing to earn a place in the top two to gain automatic passage to the World Cup next year.
The Socceroos' fate will be decided by games away to Japan and home to Thailand on August 31 and September 5 respectively.
Mathematically Australia are not certain of achieving at least third place, and thus facing a series of play-offs, but it would take catastrophic results in both remaining games to miss out on at least third place.
Postecoglou seems almost guaranteed to continue in the role if Australia does finish third and proceed to play-offs against the third-placed team from Group A in Asia, and then the fourth-placed team from the North and Central America region.