The Scottish Football Association may have to pay Dundee United £500,000 in compensation if they are to appoint Craig Levein as Scotland boss.
The 45-year-old was given permission to speak to Gordon Smith - who he has had a tempestuous relationship with in the past - after the SFA chief executive approached United on Wednesday night asking for permission to speak to him.
United are desperate to hold onto their manager but he has a clause in his contract stipulating he can speak to other employers if he so desires and also sets a level for compensation should he move.
Aberdeen had looked into appointing him as manager before Mark McGhee got the Pittodrie job last summer but baulked at the price tag.
Levein met with Tannadice chairman Stephen Thompson on Thursday and was granted permission to meet Smith. Those discussions will be held early next week, where Levein will be offered the chance to become Scotland boss.
The SFA paid former manager George Burley £300,000 a year but will face a heftier wage bill if they are to get Levein, who is currently on a similar salary at United if he meets several performance-related targets.
Thompson met with the rest of his board and manager on Thursday before giving Levein his blessing to speak to the SFA, although he insists has not given up hope of keeping the former Hearts and Leicester boss at Tannadice.
He said: "It was Craig's request that he wanted to speak to them so that was why we reluctantly agreed. But giving him permission is not us giving up on keeping him. It doesn't mean he's away and our fans should know we'll do everything in our power to persuade him to stay.
"It's perfectly possible he will stay here. Obviously that's outwith our control now but we'll see what happens. I don't know how fast the SFA will work but I can't see it dragging on."
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