The search for the next Microsoft CEO looks like it could soon come to an end. The final potential candidates for the hot seat can be counted on one hand, if reports on the matter are to be believed.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that the company’s shortlist for a new CEO had now come down to only five names — Alan Mulally, former Nokia boss Stephen Elop, and internal candidates like Satya Nadella and Tony Bates.

For his part, Alan Mulally has denied reports that he will take the Microsoft gig multiple times in the past. But when you consider that Ford’s board recently held meetings to discuss the situation, then the plot really thickens.

Now, Rick Sherlund, an analyst with Nomura that focused on Microsoft’s business, has said that right now, Mulally is very likely to be the new CEO of the software giant.

The analyst revealed this in a note to clients on Wednesday saying that there is a strong chance that Mulally will agree with Microsoft’s terms — in fact, the switch to Redmond could most certainly happen as soon as December.

Redmond is said to have interviewed several candidates, both internal and external, but the fact that most peg Alan Mulally as a turnaround man could play a key part in the selection.

As is usually the case, Microsoft does not comment on these rumors. But more details are expected to be unveiled in the next few weeks, as the search for a new CEO comes to its logical conclusion.

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