San Diego Wave head coach Casey Stoney and Seattle Reign manager Laura Harvey have both dropped out of the race to replace Emma Hayes at Chelsea, according to The Times reporter Molly Hudson.
Stoney was said to be one of the leading contenders to take on the job at the reigning WSL] champions but the former Manchester United boss has opted to remain in the United States.
Harvey had already publicly confirmed that she didn’t want to be considered for the position at Chelsea, leaving the Blues with some work to do in their search for a new manager.
It was announced at the start of November that Hayes would be leaving the London club at the end of the season to take up the position as head coach of the United States national team.
Since then, a recruitment process has been underway which was designed to ensure that Hayes’s replacement would be in place before next summer.
Who will Chelsea now turn to in their manager search?
The Times claim that the frontrunner for the job is now Elisabet Gunnarsdottir. The Icelandic coach managed Swedish side Kristianstads DFF for the best part of 14 years.
During her tenure, the club did not win the Damallsvenskan title, which may raise questions about her suitability for the Chelsea role, considering the expectation is to win trophies on an annual basis.
Gunnarsdottir is, however, highly regarded in the women’s game. Before joining Kristianstads, she won four league titles in Iceland with Valur. Whilst in Sweden, the 47-year-old was also given the Damallsvenskan Coach of the Year award in 2017.
Hayes will want to end her time at Chelsea on a high
Whoever takes over from the current Blues boss, though, they will have massive boots to fill. Having won six league titles and 15 trophies in total across her 11-and-a-half-year stint in charge, Hayes has been incredibly successful.
She will, of course, want to finish her spell in London with another title. Chelsea sit top of the table, 3 points ahead of 2nd place Manchester City, heading into the winter break. With the league campaign set to resume this weekend, the aim for Hayes’s team will be to continue from where they left off.