Some big names in world football and some familiar faces are being tossed up as candidates to coach Sydney FC next season but the Sky Blues plan to take their time to find the right successor for Vitezslav Lavicka.
Sydney announced on Friday Lavicka would depart at season's end by "mutual consent", with the club wanting to take a new direction and the Czech coach keen to return to Europe to be with his family.
The announcement came amid a flood of tributes for the well-respected Lavicka, who led Sydney to the championship-premiership double in 2010/11, with Sydney renaming their clubman of the year award in his honour.
The rumour mill also kicked into overdrive with speculation over who would become Sydney's sixth coach in 2012/13.
Among the first names to be linked with the job was former Italy and Chelsea star Gianfranco Zola, who coached Premier League side West Ham from 2008 to 2010, and Sydney chief executive Dirk Melton embraced the hype.
"What a great man, he'd be expensive though," Melton said of Zola, who was installed by one bookmaker as a $5 favourite for the job.
Other international suggestions included Manchester United great Roy Keane, who reportedly could have been signed by the club prior to the appointment of John Kosmina in 2007.
Plenty of names closer to home were linked with the position, with suggestions Sydney could move for under-contract rival A-League coaches Graham Arnold (Central Coast) and Ange Postecoglou (Brisbane).
Those would appear unlikely options however, and it is believed Arnold has already told his playing group at the Mariners he will not leave the club.
Current and former Sydney assistants Steve Corica and Tony Popovic and former A-League coaches Branko Culina, Frank Farina and Ernie Merrick were also mentioned in some circles but Melton stressed the club was yet to sound out anyone.
"It's got to be done in the right way," Melton said.
"We'll be looking here and overseas and we've got to work out the set attributes; what are the must-haves, what can we afford and what can we make happen?
"As we embark upon the process we'll get a better understanding of what candidates are available and who meets our needs."
Melton said any new coach would have to embrace the club's football philosophy of entertaining the fans in the highly-competitive Sydney sporting market.
Lavicka, 48, joined Sydney in 2009 with an impressive CV including coaching stints with Sparta Prague and the Czech under 21s national team.
While he enjoyed instant success in his first year, Sydney failed to make the finals last season and currently sit sixth this season.
Sydney's longest-serving coach, Lavicka said it would be difficult to leave the club but stressed his job was not yet done.
"I'm not leaving today or tomorrow and, trust me, I'm keen to do my best with the team and players to reach some success this season as well," Lavicka said.
"Then we can shake hands and say `all the best'."
Sydney captain Terry McFlynn said Lavicka had always had the full support of the dressing room and the players would be motivated to send him out on a high.
"The boss is a fantastic man," McFlynn said.
"Humility and integrity's very close to him and something that we value as well.
"It's important for us now to send him out as a winner."
Lavicka is likely to attract interest in Europe and said he was open to coaching offers for next season.