Steve Coppell was in contract talks with Reading last night after being offered the job of taking over from Alan Pardew.
The Brighton and Hove Albion manager emerged as the best candidate for The Royals after days of interviews - and because he comes within their budget.
The Reading chairman, John Madejski, has tried to restrict the wage of the new manager to around £200,000, but may have to go higher to complete the capture of Coppell today.
Coppell has been given permission to speak by Brighton and edged out other names like Bryan Robson and Iain Dowie, while Glenn Hoddle also pulled out of the race.
Robson was unwilling to take the post if offered because of the size of the salary, while Oldham's manager Dowie was overlooked because of Coppell's superior experience.
Coppell was in charge of Pardew at Crystal Palace and his knowledge of the First Division made him fit into Reading's profile.
Madejski, was also looking for someone to work with the existing staff and Coppell has accepted that idea too, leaving Brighton the latest club to be chasing available managers.
Any parting would be amicable, however, and means that Madejski avoids a compensation dispute like the one that has dogged Pardew's protracted move to West Ham United.
However, Brighton did make clear their desire for Coppell to stay with the south-coast club. "We can confirm that Steve Coppell had talks with Reading Football Club regarding the vacant manager's position," a Brighton statement said.
"However, Albion chairman Dick Knight is doing everything within his power to persuade Coppell that his future lies with the Seagulls."Reuse content