Tottenham Hotspur intend to further their overhaul of the club's sporting organisation by appointing a new technical director "as soon as possible".
Daniel Levy, their chairman, has moved the first team to a new training ground, replaced Harry Redknapp's old-school managerial methods with Andre Villas-Boas' modernism, and dismissed the club's chief scout since the end of last season.
The addition of an elite technical director charged with overseeing the new structures, supervising player recruitment, and working on contracts and transfers has progressed to the stage of drawing up an interview list. The plan is to have a new technical director and head of scouting in place well ahead of the January transfer window.
The candidates include Franco Baldini, a popular figure in Premier League football following his time working as Fabio Capello's assistant for England. Villas-Boas has a good relationship with the 51-year-old Italian who is currently employed as Roma's general manager.
Baldini has refused to publicly discuss Tottenham's approach, and the London club believe they may be able to persuade him to return to a city - and league - that he greatly enjoyed working in.
Though Txiki Begiristain has been strongly linked to the position, senior figures at White Hart Lane have reservations about the former Barcelona sporting director.
While Tottenham's technical co-ordinator, Tim Sherwood, aspired to being promoted to the more powerful new role, his working relationship with Villas-Boas has become strained. Sherwood's departure to Blackburn Rovers as the Championship club's new manager would offer a mutually beneficial solution.
"In the way we want to build, I think Daniel Levy sees Tim continuing as technical co-ordinator, working with the development squad," said Villas-Boas last week.
"In modern organisations there should be a link between the chairman and the football team. There are different ways to interpret this gap. In England there is a manager with more responsibilities, but for me, as a head coach, it is better to have a director of football. It helps us to work closer with the first team. The director of football can have contacts with players and agents, as well as bridging the gap with youth football and with the scouting structure."
As revealed by The National, Levy and Villas-Boas took the joint decision to dismiss Ian Broomfield from the key chief scout's role earlier this month.
A Redknapp appointment who had also worked with Tottenham's sacked manager at Portsmouth, Broomfield is understood to have opposed Villas-Boas' recruitment requests during the summer window. Tottenham's well-regarded academy scout Paul Senior was also allowed to leave the club to become Head of Recruitment at Charlton Athletic.
Villas-Boas' first months at Tottenham have been complicated by media reports of player discontent and that Levy was preparing to sack him. According to a close friend, the coach was "outraged" at a claim on the morning of Saturday's important away fixture at Manchester United that players had complained to him about double training sessions and overly defensive tactics.
Tottenham's squad has been vocal in its public support of Villas-Boas' methods, which contrast markedly with the Redknapp's preference for relatively unstructured training and more limited communication with the team. "There have been no double sessions during the season and no complaints to Andre about tactics," said the friend.