Sunderland have placed a new name at the top of their manager wishlist after failing to agree a deal with Reims for their head coach Will Still, according to Fabrizio Romano.
The 31-year-old was previously believed to be the Black Cats favourite to replace the recently departed Tony Mowbray, although reports emerged yesterday detailing the complexity of the situation.
According to French media outlet RMC Sport, it would take significant compensation to tempt Reims into allowing their young coach to depart mid-season as they continue to defy the odds in Ligue 1. It is believed that Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus had held talks with Still, with the meetings described as ‘positive’.
However, it appears as if a stalemate has been reached and the Wearsiders have now decided to switch their focus to other names, with Romano reporting that a new name has emerged at the top of their shortlist.
🔴⚪️ Understand nothing has been agreed or done between Sunderland and Reims manager Will Still.
Sunderland keep working on new head coach but they’ve another name in the list as top target now. Talks ongoing. pic.twitter.com/PKOWILAV3w
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 14, 2023
Whilst the renowned journalist fails to name names, reports from Sweden have emerged saying that Elfsborg manager Jimmy Thelin is the latest to have been interviewed for the role. According to Sportbladet, the 45-year-old is being touted by a number of clubs after impressing in the Allsvenskan this season, where Elfsborg lost out on the league title on the final day of the season following a 1-0 defeat to eventual winners Malmo.
It is claimed that Thelin was in Sunderland this week to discuss the position and is also being targeted by another Championship club. Interestingly, the report states that managerless Swansea City are not in the hunt, which seems to indicate that Stoke City may be in the mix.
Fellow Swede Kim Hellberg was another who was a rumoured target by the North East giants, but he was confirmed as the new manager of Hammarby earlier this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Mike Dodds will continue to run the team in the interim having picked up back-to-back wins over West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United in his two games in charge.
Sunderland look keen on recruiting a coach who has yet to manage in the English leagues, following the recent pattern set by a number of clubs across the EFL. It seems as if the Black Cats are intent on building for the future and recruiting the best man possible to lead them back into the Premier League for the first time since 2017.
With Mike Dodds doing an excellent job in the interim, it allows the Championship outfit to bide their time in order to get the best man possible for the job. Will Still still remains in the hunt, although it seems as if they are softening on their approach, which would indicate that they are not willing to pay a fee at this stage.