Roberto Mancini has reached an agreement to terminate his contract as manager of Zenit St Petersburg, seemingly paving the way for him to become Italy coach.
Mancini has emerged as a leading candidate to become the next Azzurri boss and has held talks with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). And his appointment appeared to move a step closer on Sunday after Zenit announced he was leaving the Russian side, less than 12 months into a three-year contract.
A club statement read: "Zenit and Roberto Mancini agree to an early end to the manager's contract. The contract will be terminated by mutual consent without any compensation payable.
"The club wish Roberto Mancini all the best with his future endeavours and thank him for his time in St Petersburg.''
Mancini's 45th and last game in charge of Zenit, who are fifth heading into the final round of the Russian Premier League season, will be Sunday's home match with SKA Khabarovsk.
The 53-year-old former Manchester City and Inter Milan manager's contract will then officially end on Monday, having failed to lead them to the Champions League.
Italy are looking for a replacement for Giampiero Ventura, who was sacked in November after the Azzurri failed to reach the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.
As well as Mancini, Carlo Ancelotti, Claudio Ranieri and Chelsea's Antonio Conte have been linked with the position, which is currently held by caretaker manager Luigi Di Biagio, the coach of Italy's Under-21 side.
Mancini, who won 36 caps for Italy as a player, led City to the Premier League title in 2011/12 after three Serie A title wins with Inter.
Since leaving the Etihad in 2013 he has managed Galatasaray and Inter again before being appointed Zenit boss last June.