West Ham United co-owner David Gold has dropped the strongest hint yet that Slaven Bilic is being considered to succeed Sam Allardyce after admitting he wants a candidate with "history" with the Upton Park club.
Bilic made 48 appearances for the Hammers in the 1996-97 season and after leaving Besiktas reports suggest the Croatian coach is preparing to return to the Premier League.
Allardyce was dismissed in unceremonious circumstances after the final day of the season following the expiration of his contract with West Ham, leading to the club beginning a search for his replacement.
Next season will represent the club's final full campaign before they move into the Olympic Stadium, meaning survival in the Premier League is vital if the club are to fill the 54,000-capacity ground.
And according to Gold the ideal candidate to take West Ham into a new era is someone who has a previous relationship with the club, and ideally has experience of one of the world's top leagues.
"We would like someone who has managed successfully in one of the major leagues in the world," he told West Ham TV. "We want to bring in an established manager who has been there and done it.
"Every day goes by, it is a case of elimination. It would be lovely to have someone with West Ham history, that ticks a box.
"Having Premier League experience [and] that doesn't mean English Premier League, that means a man who has managed successfully in the big Italian league, big Spanish league, the German league [or] a major league in the world, that is a box that needs to be ticked, we don't want to take a chance.
"I am making this up but say there is a fantastic manager at Accrington Stanley and everybody is raving about him. We wouldn't want to take that risk at West Ham.
"Untried, although exciting and achieving at lower levels, that's not what we are about. We are about bringing in an established that has been there and done it!"
After securing promotion from the Championship in his first season, Allardyce cemented West Ham's status in the Premier League with three successive mid-table finishes while the club also reached the semi-final of the League Cup.
Despite not choosing to renew his contract at the end of the season, Gold says Allardyce should be remembered for matching all of the club's targets during his four years in charge.
"We mustn't forget what we asked of Sam when we brought him in. We said 'Look, can you get us promoted?' He said 'I'll get you up and I'll keep you up' and of course he's done exactly what we asked," he added.