The San Jose Earthquakes are getting closer to finding a new general manager.
Multiple sources told ESPN FC that a meeting with Nolan Partners, the firm hired to lead the GM search, is scheduled for Dec. 7, and that five finalists have been selected.
One of those finalists is current San Jose technical director Chris Leitch. Another is former Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton. Out of the other choices, one source said two are from Latin America.
The position is expected to be filled by the end of the year, though one source said it could extend into early January.
Congerton's reputation is that of taking a data-driven approach to building a squad, though his time with the Black Cats was uneven. He has been praised for acquiring Jermain Defoe in exchange for Jozy Altidore, but Sunderland were relegation candidates throughout his admittedly brief spell there.
In addition to his time at Sunderland, Congerton also worked at Bundesliga side Hamburg from 2011-14 as the club's technical director under Frank Arnesen. Prior to that stint, he worked at Chelsea for six years, primarily under Arnesen, first as a youth team coach, and later as chief scout.
He has also worked as a coach at Liverpool, and was the academy director at Welsh side Wrexham. Congerton left Sunderland in late 2015, following the resignation of Dick Advocaat and the hiring of Sam Allardyce.
Leitch has been San Jose's technical director since 2015 and has been serving as the interim GM since the Quakes parted ways with John Doyle on Aug. 29. Leitch is also a former San Jose player, and has worked in the Quakes' front office since 2012, when he served as the technical director for San Jose's academy.
San Jose was thought to be close to hiring a GM in October, but San Jose president Dave Kaval said at the time that the organization wanted to interview candidates from Latin America, at which point Nolan Partners was brought in.
The Quakes, winners of two MLS Cups and two Supporters' Shields, have failed to reach the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.