World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi is poised for a sensational move to China, with Guangzhou Evergrande set to part ways with current manager Lee Jang-Soo, official Chinese media said on Thursday.
The Italian has already arrived in Guangzhou, the giant industrial city near Hong Kong, and the deep-pocketed Chinese champions were to announce the coaching switch in the coming hours, Xinhua news agency reported.
"Lippi arrived in Guangzhou at about 2:00 am on Thursday (1800 GMT Wednesday) and the club will officially announce the replacement in the afternoon," a senior club official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The report follows persistent rumours of Lippi's appointment in Chinese and Italian media, and comes despite Lee's achievement in steering Guangzhou into the AFC Champions League knock-out rounds this week.
Last year, Guangzhou smashed the Chinese record to hire Argentine midfielder Dario Conca, in a deal that reportedly made him one of the world's richest players, as they swept to the Super League title boosted by foreign imports.
Then in December, rival outfit Shanghai Shenhua snapped up ex-Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka in the most high-profile signing yet seen in the Super League, which was previously blighted by a major match-fixing scandal.