The Italian Football Federation has confirmed that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is their first choice to take over as coach of the Italy national team.
The federation's vice president, Alessandro Costacurta, said he intends to hold a discussion with Conte about the vacant Italy post "in a couple of months'" time.
Conte led the Italian national team as head coach in Euro 2016, with the Azzurri being knocked out in the quarter-final stage by Germany.
The 48-year-old took charge at Chelsea following the tournament and won the Premier League title in his first season at the club, but his second season has seen the Blues struggle for consistency.
The indifferent form has sparked speculation that Conte could be sacked by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in the summer, but the Italian has insisted that he intends to see through his contract which runs until 2019.
"I haven't chosen yet but I think Conte is the one who could do the best. I'll definitely talk with him in a couple of months," Costacurta was quoted as saying by Sky Sports when asked about the search for the next Italy coach.
"He's already shown he knows how to be national team coach while the others haven't yet.
"That doesn't mean I wouldn't be happy with [Zenit St Petersburg coach Roberto] Mancini or with [Carlo] Ancelotti, although [Ancelotti] seems to have removed himself from consideration," Costacurta added.
Reports have suggested that Conte's relationship with Abramovich is strained due to the Italian's thinly-veiled criticism of the club's transfer strategy.
Conte risked further aggravating his relationship with the board by suggesting earlier this month that they had erred by bringing in too many new players last summer.
Chelsea lost 2-1 to Manchester United at Old Trafford on 25 February to lose ground in the top four race.
The Blues are fifth in the Premier League table, two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.