Melbourne Victory - the A-League’s biggest club - know they must get their next coaching appointment right.
It desperately requires a manager with the class and experience to plot Victory’s next era of Australian and continental success.
As Victory plan to regain their position as the A-League’s best, Victory are currently assessing their head coach options.
Former star player Grant Brebner will take over on an interim basis as the club finishes off its A-League season in July.
But the A-League giant will not accept anything less than a return to the Grand Final winner’s podium over the next two seasons.
And, of course, an AFC Asian Champions League campaign that extends beyond the group stage will also be a requirement for the new boss.
A move towards a winter A-League can only help Victory and other Australian sides on the Continental stage.
If Victory goes Australian with the appointment, there are some strong candidates who are more likely to stay around for two-four years and build.
Tony Popovic is the strongest local candidate and comes immediately to mind.
Though his current club Perth Glory claim there has been no official approach, that still wouldn’t stop such a move. It all makes sense.
Popovic’s extraordinary Champions League success in 2014 would no doubt be a huge draw for Victory, who could build a new era over the next five years under the former Socceroo.
However, Ufuk Talay has impressed many at Phoenix and is said to be in the mix.
Ricky Herbert and Arthur Papas are two other names with overseas and A-League experience (in Herbert's case, World Cup experience too) worth considering by Victory’s ambitious chairman Anthony Di Pietro.
But if Victory look to a foreign coach, they’ll have to see off Chinese, East Asian, and MLS clubs to find a coach willing to give an A-League club a shot.
With that in mind, the Victorian A-League outfit needs to be realistic but ambitious.
Here are three names worth a look from the world market.
The Spaniard was let go by English Premier League club Watford in 2019.
Gracia had led the club to 11th in the English Premier League a season earlier, as well as to the FA Cup final where they lost to Manchester City.
With the future looking bright, a contract extension was offered by the Hornets.
He went from an unknown to highly respected overnight, but a slow start to the 2019/20 season thanks in large part to a leaky defence and he was replaced by Quique Sánchez Flores.
Some fans were bemused by the sacking feeling Gracia wasn’t given enough time to turn around the slow start.
The 50-year-old Gracia from Pamplona has coached in Spain, England, Greece, and Russia over the last 12 years.
He played in 430 matches in both major divisions of Spanish league football.
“You can have good players but if you don’t have togetherness,” he told the Premier League show, “you won’t be able to achieve anything.”
Gracia would be a realistic signing for Victory.