One of new Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay's first priorities will be to convince Roy Krishna to stay at the club.
The Fijian underlined his class with a superb finish in Friday's 3-1 loss to the Melbourne Victory, which saw the Wellington club bounce out of the finals at the first hurdle.
It was the high point of a frustrating night during which the Phoenix played well in patches but were undone by some individual errors, big-game naivety and a classy display by Swedish import Ola Toivonen.
Krishna was well contained by the Victory defence but still looked dangerous on several occasions and his goal reminded of Luis Suarez's strike on Thursday for Barcelona against Liverpool, as the Fijian flashed between two defenders at the near post to direct Sarpreet Singh's pinpoint cross into the net.
The goal took the 31-year-old to 10th on the list of all-time A-League scorers — but will he get a chance to notch another for the Phoenix?
Krishna is believed to have four compelling offers on the table. Aside from a new multi-year deal to stay in Wellington, believed to be a significant upgrade, there is also interest from two A-League clubs (including the Melbourne Victory) and an overseas outfit. With the season over, Krishna is expected to make a decision in the next fortnight.
He's one of 14 players off contract at the club, though not all are targeted for retention.
At least three, including goalkeeper Filip Kurto, winger David Williams and midfielder Max Burgess are tipped to join expansion club Western United, with Mark Rudan expected to be unveiled as the Melbourne club's new coach.
Yesterday's confirmation of Talay was no surprise, as the 43-year-old Sydney FC assistant coach was the favoured candidate and came highly recommended by Rudan.
It's a gamble, as Talay has limited head coaching time, mainly with Australian age group sides, which isn't really comparable to club football.
Someone such as Auckland City's Ramon Tribulietx has more relevant experience on a week-to-week basis and is long overdue an opportunity but the prerequisite of a Pro licence is a stumbling block.
On the positive side, Talay comes with glowing references and at least the Phoenix have acted quickly. That will allow them to be more proactive with recruitment and retention decisions in the next few weeks. There may also be some form of continuity, given Talay's past links with Rudan as a player and coach.
But the news can't mask the disappointment of Friday night. The Victory were always strong favourites, with their intimidating finals record in Melbourne. The Phoenix matched them for long periods, only to concede just when they were building pressure.
Ryan Lowry was exposed as a makeshift wing back, while Mandi's crucial error which gifted Melbourne their second goal defined his sweet and sour season.
Captain Andrew Durante failed to track his man for the first Melbourne goal, then was caught out of position for the third, after making a rare foray forward, though Michal Kopczynski could have cut out an earlier Kosta Barbarouses pass which ultimately led to Ola Toivonen's goal.