David Moyes has pulled out of the running to become the new Aston Villa manager, BBC Sport understands.
However the Scotsman, without a club since being sacked by Real Sociedad in 2015, has now ruled himself out.
Nigel Pearson – the preferred choice of outgoing chairman Steve Hollis – and Roberto Di Matteo remain in the frame.
The fundamental issue for Moyes is believed to be the drop down to the Championship, where Villa will play next season following their relegation from the Premier League.
The former Manchester United and Everton manager also had reservations about Villa’s wish for a swift decision over the role, as a result of the hectic summer that lies ahead for the club’s football department.
One of the attractions of the Villa job for Moyes was the prospect of working again with Keith Wyness, who is soon to be appointed as the club’s chief executive.
He held the same role at Everton for five years, during which time he worked harmoniously with the former Preston manager.
Villa hope to confirm their new manager by the end of this week, with Pearson and Di Matteo – both of whom are without a club – having been interviewed by Hollis and the recruitment team put together by Xia.
The owner-in-waiting will sanction the appointment although Hollis will seal the deal as Dr Xia will not technically own Villa until his takeover is approved by the Football League.