Carlton chief executive Greg Swann has confirmed the club has begun talking to Mick Malthouse, as well as Paul Roos, about their vacant senior coaching position.
Speculation had been brewing for much of this season that Malthouse would replace Brett Ratten as Blues coach at the end of the 2012 campaign.
That scenario went one step closer to materialising last week when Ratten was sacked.
And while Swann insisted a deal was far from agreed, a Malthouse-Carlton union has gathered even more momentum following the Carlton CEO's revelations.
"Negotiations with Mick Malthouse have begun. And we've also spoken to Paul Roos," Swann told Carlton's online talk show ''The Blue Print''.
"It wasn't a done deal. We know that Mick wants to coach again ... he's made that clear.
"We want a coach that can take us to the next step. We need someone who has been there and done that.
"Ratts (Ratten) coached for five years and it was continual improvement all the way through, until this year.
"Now what we are hoping that next step can be taken, and we can get up the ladder."
Swann also reaffirmed Carlton's interest in out-of-contract Collingwood key forward Travis Cloke if he became available, as doubts continue to hang over the possibility of him remaining a Magpie beyond 2012.
"At the end of the day, Travis is a Collingwood player. We're waiting. If he says he wants to leave, we think we'll be in the hunt," Swann said.
"We are waiting and if he says he wants to leave then we think we would be in the hunt.
"If they offer him what he wants and he stays that is where it is - but it is not a done deal.
"We have expressed an interest and if he decided he wants to go, we are happy to have those discussions.
"We are not getting too caught up in what might happen until he says he wants to go, because it affects everything else as well."
Swann said if the Blues missed out on Cloke's signature, they would have other targets in mind to assist Jarrad Waite in attack next year.
"We have kept looking at other options, because if we don't get him (Cloke) we don't want to put all our eggs in one basket," Swann said.
"That is what we are doing, and a little bit will be determined by who the new coach is, who likes and does not like."