ANGE Postecoglou is the new hot favourite to take over at Melbourne Victory as Brisbane Roar owners desperately try to keep him with another lucrative new deal.
Postecoglou is just one year into a three year deal at Suncorp after his performance last year earned him a substantial payrise to keep his Roar revolution going.
Melbourne Victory offered him a huge payrise to join them then, but Postecoglou was determined to see through his visionary plan at Brisbane and take his place in the Asian Champions League.
Now Melbourne Victory are understood to have come back with a renewed offer to Postecoglou after a major U-turn on interim coach Jim Magilton which saw him exit the club over the weekend.
Roar - now 100 percent owned by the Indonesian billionaire Bakrie family - are understood to be doing everything they can to hold on to their groundbreaking coach with an even better new contract and improved facilities and resources.
Under Postecoglou's guidance, the club stripped out big name veterans and rebuilt the squad around talented youngsters, boosted by hidden gems from overseas like Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha who have set the A-League alight.
Even losing key youngsters Tommy Oar and Michael Zullo and skipper Matt McKay couldn't derail the Postecoglou juggernaut and his philosophy of classy football.
The team came within a whisker of back-to-back Premierships after railing in one-time runaway leaders Central Coast Mariners to take it to the final round of the season - and are now favourites to retain the Championship in the finals this month.
It's a proven track record of success that Melbourne Victory are understood to be desperate to tap into by bringing Postecoglou back to his hometown, where he cut his teeth at South Melbourne FC.
As well as returning the club to winning ways again after a dismally disappointing 2011/2 season despite signing key players like Harry Kewell, Postecoglou can further cement Victory's dominance in Melbourne by tapping into the Greek community, many of whom have snubbed the A-League to stick with SMFC.
His proven ability in transforming Roar's ageing side into a livewire youthful side is exactly what Victory fans have been demanding - and Postecoglou's youth vision will also leave a legacy for the future.
Rumours circulated yesterday that Postecoglou had already accepted an offer from Victory, sparking a crash in bookmaker odds on Ange moving to Melbourne.
In the space of 24 hours his odds were slashed from $17, down to $8.50, down to $4.50, down to a near unbackable $1.50 by the end of the day as punters piled on the Postecoglou bandwagon.
Meanwhile, Chelsea and Italian legend Gianfranco Zola appears to have completely faded away as an option for Victory.
As well as his Australian agent Buddy Farah completely denying the story exclusively on au.fourfourtwo.com last night, Melbourne Victory board member Florin Burhala also poured scorn on the rumour.
Burhala - a personal friend of Zola - took to Twitter to tell journalists unequivocally: "Like I told you last night, Zola will not be meeting with MVFC."
The Corriere Dello Sport newspaper in Italy yesterday said Zola would be taking over as Lazio coach at the end of this season.
Other odds from Sportsbet for the Victory job include Branko Culina at $11, Miron Bleiberg $17, Kevin Muscat $21, Frank Farina $21, Roy Keane $31, Jan Versleijen $31, Abel Balbo $31 and Walter Smith $31.
However 80% of all the money being placed was going on Postecoglou, said the bookies.