Claudio Ranieri has resigned as manager of Italian Serie A side Parma, paving the way for him to become the next manager at Manchester City.
The former Chelsea manager is expected to succeed Stuart Pearce who was sacked at the end of the season.
The 56-year-old Italian took over the relegation-threatened Parma side in February and confounded expectations by guiding them to safety, with a respectable 12th-place finish.
A statement from Parma said: “Claudio Ranieri has informed the club of his intention to leave his role as first-team coach.
“The club would like to thank him for the precious work he carried out, which resulted in keeping Parma in Serie A. We wish him success for the future.”
Ranieri told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport: “The Manchester City challenge reminds me of the experience I had at Chelsea where without spending £1, we built a good team.
“I created the Chelsea miracle from nothing. My achievement convinced Roman Abramovich to buy the club. Then, mountains of money came as well as a selection of top players.”
However, his appointment at Eastlands will not be confirmed until the end of next week at the earliest.
The club are the subject of a takeover bid from former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The paperwork is now being handled by the Shinawatra’s lawyers with a resolution expected in the next few days.
Ranieri began his management career at Campania before taking over at Cagliari with whom he secured promotion to Seria A in 1989. A switch to Napoli followed before he moved to Fiorentina where he won the Coppa Italia and the SuperCoppa Italiana.
His exploits at Fiorentina earned Ranieri a move to Valencia, where he enhanced his burgeoning reputation by leading the club to the Champions League before moving again, this time to Atletico Madrid. However, during his brief tenure the club went into administration and Ranieri quit before he was sacked, moving to England in the summer of 2000.
At Stamford Bridge, he was accused of over-rotating his squad, and picked up the nickname of the ‘Tinkerman’ from the British media, but his period in charge, which coincided with the takeover of the club by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, saw Chelsea finish second in the Premier League and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. However, his achievements were not enough for Abramovich who promptly sacked Ranieri at the end of the 2003-04 season.
A return to Valencia followed but Ranieri, who succeeded current Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez at the Mestella, was unable to recreate the success of his first spell at the club, and after a disappointing run of results he was fired by the Spanish club. Two years in the wilderness ended with his return to management with Parma, who, against the odds, he led to safety at the end of the 2006-07 season.
Having worked in both Spain and Italy, with Parma, since leaving England, Ranieri is convinced the Premier League is the place to be at the moment.
“At this time, English football is a fascinating window that hypnotises you,” he said on Thursday.
“Some of the richest men in the world would do ridiculous things in order to buy an English club because the Premier League has become a luxury stage.
“To return to England means to be at the centre of something important.”