Julen Lopetegui to Wolves back on as ex-Sevilla boss ‘instigates talks’ after initial rejection

Jason Soutar
Julen Lopetegui after a match

Wolves are ‘increasingly confident’ they will appoint former Sevilla and Spain boss Julen Lopetegui as their new head coach, according to John Percy.

Lopetegui was relieved of his duties as Sevilla boss last month after the La Liga side’s heavy 4-1 home defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

He was dismissed very swiftly following the loss and spoke to the press after the decision was made.

The 56-year-old was hugely successful in Seville before a poor start to 2022-23.

He led them to three fourth-place finishes in the league, breaking their record for most points in a season when they accumulated 77 in 20-21.

And Lopetegui was in charge when Sevilla won the Europa League in 2020.

Wolves made the Spaniard their number-one managerial choice after sacking Bruno Lage on October 1.

However, he rejected their offer to care for his father, who has fallen ill.

After being turned down by Lopetegui, Wolves turned their attention to Queens Park Rangers boss Michael Beale.

Beale only took charge of QPR in July but is doing a terrific job, despite it being his first job in management.

The former Aston Villa assistant said no to the Molineux job, hinting that he is holding out for something better, or to guide his new side to the Premier League.

Coaches Steve Davis and James Collins have been in charge since Lage was sacked. They have picked up four points from five matches.

The Premier League club had planned to go into 2023 with Davis and Collins in charge, but – despite an improved performance against Brentford on Saturday – have changed their stance.

And in a huge boost to them, their initial top target, Lopetegui, has reached out to say he is now interested in taking the job, according to John Percy of The Telegraph.

Wolves are now ‘confident’ they will reach a breakthrough this week with talks ‘progressing well’.

Lopetegui – whose agent, Jorge Mendes, has considerable influence at Molineux – alerted the club that he is ‘open’ to taking the job after initially turning the English club down.

The 56-year-old was the one who ‘instigated’ fresh negotiations, the report adds.

It is noted that after failing to land Beale and Lopetegui, Wolves interviewed Peter Bosz, Rob Edwards, and Anthony Barry.

The Premier League side will need Lopetegui to get a work permit and hope to have him confirmed as head coach next week.

They are, however, cautious due to his family situation.

Lopetegui’s appointment would be a huge boost going into the World Cup break.

Wolves are currently in the relegation zone and face Brighton at home on Saturday.

They then host Leeds United in the Carabao Cup and league leaders Arsenal in the Premier League before the tournament in Qatar gets underway.

Their first match post-World Cup is away to Everton on Boxing Day.

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