Manchester United are seriously considering appointing Antonio Conte to replace Jose Mourinho when he leaves Old Trafford, according to a report in Italy.
Mourinho has relieved some of the pressure which had been mounting on him with some positive results in recent weeks, although his side were outclassed in the Manchester derby on Sunday.
United are unlikely to sack Mourinho anytime soon, but Gazzetta dello Sport (via SportWitness) claims that they are already planning for after he is gone and are 'truly thinking' about approaching Conte when that time comes.
Conte has been out of work since leaving Chelsea at the end of last season. The Italian guided the Blues to the Premier League title in his first season in charge, but they slumped to a 5th place finish the following year.
He recently held discussions with Real Madrid about succeeding Julen Lopetegui as manager, but talks broke down and Santiago Solari got the job on a permanent basis instead.
Conte has indicated that he is unlikely to take a new position mid-season, preferring to start afresh during the summer rather than 'take a train running now'.
United are seven points adrift of the Champions League places and Mourinho's position may become untenable if they finish outside the top four this season, but there are still more than two-thirds of the campaign to go and plenty of time for a reversal of fortunes.
If and when the United job does become available, former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino would be among the top contenders as well.