Roberto Mancini is willing to be the next coach of Italy and will enter into contract negotiations later this month, the commissioner of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said on Tuesday.
The Zenit St Petersburg coach still has two years left to run on his contract with the Russian club, but he held exploratory talks with Alessandro Costacurta -- who has been tasked by CONI to find and appoint a new coach -- and Italy's team manager Gabriele Oriali at his home in Rome on Monday.
During that meeting, the former Manchester City manager informed Costacurta that he would be willing to become Italy coach from the summer.
"There was a meeting yesterday between the vice-commissioner Costacurta, the team manager Oriali and Roberto Mancini, who gave us his availability to terminate his contract with Zenit and become coach of the national team," CONI commissioner Roberto Fabbricini told ANSA.
"We left it that we will start to talk about figures and the details on May 13, once the Russian season has ended."
Mancini is in a similar situation to Carlo Ancelotti, who recently met with Costacurta despite still being under contract at Bayern Munich. Neither coach can officially discuss terms until his contractual situation at his club is resolved.
However, with two games of the Russian league season remaining, it is looking increasingly likely that he Mancini will be released from his contract, allowing him to take charge of the Azzurri in time for the May 20 deadline Costacurta had set to name a successor to Gian Piero Ventura, who was sacked after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.
"I would like to make it clear that nothing has been decided yet," Fabbricini added. "We will discuss a budget with Mancini and the federation for that role, and we will also need to talk with him about the current coaching staff, which we want to agree with the future head coach.
"I repeat, he has given us his availability and, from May 13, we'll go into the details."
Mancini won three consecutive titles at Inter Milan in the 2000s and guided Manchester City to the Premier League title in 2012. He played for Italy in Euro 1988 and was included in Italy's squad for the 1990 World Cup but never made an appearance.
Mancini earlier told RAI radio that he had not had any official discussions about the role -- yet.
"I've not spoken to anybody, although it would be an honour," Mancini said. "For an Italian coach, being in charge of the Italy national team would be, I believe, a prestigious position and I would have to be proud.
"I'm at Saint Petersburg and I don't know the situation. I've read something, but honestly I'm not up to speed with it all, so it's hard for me to comment on a something that I've just read in the papers."
Costacurta has insisted that a new coach would be in place before summer friendlies against Saudi Arabia, France and Netherlands. Their next competitive fixtures come in the autumn with the advent of the UEFA Nations League, with games against Poland and Portugal.
Italy last failed to qualify for a World Cup in 1958 and Mancini admitted it "will not be nice not seeing Italy at a World Cup" this summer.
"It's not going to be the same and we can only hope that the national team gets back to being among the best in the world," he said. "It's not nice for us who love football that we are lagging behind the others."