ClaretandHugh understands the board has no limit on the number of candidates they are ready to consider but the list will be narrowed down to the most suitable three or four closer to the end of season.
The club expect to be ready to move in with offers for their top candidates in late April or early May.
We have learned, however, that although Rafa Benitez was virtually everybody’s top choice, he is unlikely to make the move.
We were told: “The club would love him but he’s not overly keen on coming and is a £6 million manager minimum anyway. Slaven Bilic is very much in the frame but agents are looking right across Europe at suitable candidates.”
“They are on a timetable as the club will be ready to move aggressively once they have the candidates in place.”