Roberto Mancini is being lined up as the next Fulham manager.
The former coach of Inter Milan told friends he met Whites chairman Mohamed Al Fayed last week at Harrods, where the club's owner asked the 43-year-old Italian to keep his options open for the next few months.
It's not thought current Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is in immediate danger. But the club hover just above the relegation slots in the Premiership, despite spending more than £20m in the summer rebuilding a side that escaped the drop on the last day of last season by the skin of their teeth.
Apparently, the man with an impressive three Scudetti on his CV from his time at Inter was told to keep practising his English in readiness for a tilt at the Craven Cottage job.
A close friend said: "Roberto has said he's interested, but Fulham are waiting to see how the next few matches go.
"Al Fayed made it plain as part of a joke that at his age he doesn't want to be somewhere at the end of the season praying his club remain in the Premiership."
The chairman has got through eight managers in his 11 years in charge, with Hodgson the current ninth.
This time last season, Al Fayed was already having doubts about Lawrie Sanchez, who he'd only appointed the previous April.
By December Sanchez was out, and Hodgson brought in to use his experience and contacts to save the team.
In a kind of six-points-of-separation twist, Mancini eventually succeeded Hodgson at Inter, and Chelsea favourite Jose Mourinho replaced Mancini when he left the San Siro in May.