Graham Arnold has emerged as a contender for the vacant All Whites role.
The Herald understands that representatives of New Zealand Football will meet with Arnold later this month to discuss the position.
Former coach Anthony Hudson resigned in November, following the 2-0 aggregate loss to Peru, to take up a head coaching position with the Colorado Rapids in the MLS.
NZF has appointed a global sports recruitment agency to assess leading candidates for the role.
They have canvassed options from across the globe, and it's believed that the 54-year-old Arnold is a name on the shortlist.
The Sydney FC coach, who is recognised as the best coach in Australia, has an impressive track record.
He took the Central Coast Mariners to two A League grand finals, winning the championship in the 2012-13 season.
After an unsuccessful stint in Japan, Arnold has since fashioned Sydney into one of the best teams in the league's history.
They strolled to the Premiership last season — and won the grand final — and are on course for the same scenario this year, with a huge lead at the top of the table.
The former Socceroos striker has strong links with several members of the All Whites team, including Michael McGlinchey and Storm Roux, who he brought through the ranks at the Mariners. He also has a strong development track record.
Arnold also has international experience. He coached the Socceroos in 2006-2007 and served as an assistant under Pim Verbeek for the 2010 World Cup campaign.
However, there are some complicating factors. Arnold has also been strongly linked with the Socceroos job, since Ange Postelcoglou stepped aside in November. The Football Federation Australia are said to be focussed on overseas names, but if Arnold enters the picture then obviously the Australian job would be his first preference.
The second factor is money. Arnold is one of the highest paid coaches in the A League, and matching that kind of level may be beyond NZF's current budgets. Hudson commanded the highest salary in All Whites coaching history, but NZF would have to go beyond that to secure Arnold.
Thirdly, the All Whites are expected to have a thin schedule in the next two years, and it is hard to see how that would fit with a coach of Arnold's ambition and pedigree, though the lure of qualification for the 2022 World Cup would be strong one.
However, if NZF were open to the role being part time – at least for the next two years – then it is possible that Arnold could juggle club and country commitments.