Former Sunderland boss Roy Keane is no longer in the running to return to the club after the two parties failed to reach an agreement, the PA news agency understands.
Sunderland had held formal talks with Keane after sacking Lee Johnson at the end of last month and it is understood the former Manchester United captain was the leading candidate.
Keane spent nearly two-and-a-half years in charge of the Black Cats before resigning in December 2008.
Former Hull manager Grant McCann and ex-Norwich and Preston boss Alex Neil have now emerged as main contenders to replace Johnson.
Keane, 50, is believed to have had strong boardroom support and recently hinted at his interest in returning to Wearside during his work as a football pundit.
But talks with Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman appear to have broken down.
Former Republic of Ireland assistant Keane, who has been out of management since being sacked by Ipswich in 2011, guided Sunderland to promotion to the Premier League in 2007 in his first season in charge.
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) August 28, 2019
The following season, the Black Cats finished 15th in the top flight before Keane quit following strained relations with the club’s hierarchy.
Sunderland sacked Johnson following their humiliating 6-0 defeat at Bolton last month, just over a year after appointing him.
Temporary boss Mike Dodds has lost both his games in charge, with the Black Cats slipping to a third straight defeat last Saturday, which has left them two points off the automatic promotion places in Sky Bet League One.