Ralph Hasenhuttl has agreed in principle to take the Southampton job after positive talks with the club on Monday, Sky Sports News understands.
The Austrian is understood to have been convinced of the Saints' ambition and potential - despite their troubled start to the season - in discussions with chairman Ralph Krueger, director of football operations Ross Wilson and members of the club's board of directors.
Hassenhutl is regarded as one of the most renowned emerging coaches in Europe and the Saints' bold move to sack Mark Hughes and approach the ex-RB Leipzig boss looks set to be finalised, with Hassenhutl due to fly to England in the next 48 hours.
Wilson, who is understood to be overseeing the football operation following Les Reed's departure, and the Saints board are believed to have made Hassenhuttl the number-one choice due to his impressive record at German club's Ingolstadt and then Leipzig.
He led Leipzig to a second-place finish in their first Bundesliga season and subsequently a first ever Champions League campaign, followed by a Europa League quarter-final.
After a sixth-placed finish last term, he left Leipzig having failed to agree a new contract.
But then-sporting director Ralf Rangnick, who preceded and succeeded him in the dugout, still described Hasenhuttl as not "just a very talented coach but also an incredible person", as he lamented the 51-year-old's departure.
Sky Sports News understands Quique Sanches Flores has also been under consideration at St Mary's, while a string of managers such as David Moyes, Nigel Pearson and Carlos Carvalhal have also thrown their hats into the ring.