We Are Birmingham understand that Blues have held positive talks with Aitor Karanka over the last few days and look to be close to an agreement for the Spaniard to take over as the next Birmingham City boss.
Karanka had previously worked under Jose Mourinho for three years at Real Madrid, before replacing Tony Mowbray as manager at Middlesbrough during November 2013.
In his first full season at Boro, Karanka guided the team to the play offs where they were beaten by Norwich, but the Spaniard took them up to the Premier League the following season as they finished runners up to Burnley. Karanka left the club in March 2017 with the club struggling in the Premier League.
Karanka returned to management in January 2018 after he was appointed manager of Nottingham Forest. After much speculation surrounding his role at the club, he walked out on the Midlands side a year later, leaving the team in seventh position, four points from the play-offs.
It had been reported that Karanka had disagreements with the board at his two previous clubs and it proved to strain relationships. He was originally in line for the Blues job in 2017 after Harry Redknapp was sacked. At that point in time there was allegedly a disagreement between the two parties and Blues opted for Steve Cotterill.
The club have also interviewed other candidates over the last week without any further progress and while any final decision may be based on what league Blues find themselves in, it appears the 46 year-old Spaniard is the current front runner.