Premier League: Julen Lopetegui quits as Wolves coach on eve of season

Spaniard Julen Lopetegui has left his job as Wolves manager just days before the start of the Premier League season after reportedly being unhappy over the club's recruiting policy.

"Wolves and Julen Lopetegui have reached an agreement to part ways, ending the Spaniard's nine-month reign as head coach at the club," Wolves said in a statement on Tuesday. "The head coach and club acknowledged and accepted their differences of opinion on certain issues and agreed that an amicable end to his contract was the best solution for all parties."

Former Bournemouth manager Gary O'Neil, sacked this summer after steering the Cherries to top-flight safety, is reported to be in line to replace Lopetegui.

Lopetegui, the former Spain and Real Madrid boss  joined Wolves in November, replacing Bruno Lage, with the club bottom of the Premier League and helped it stay in the top flight, finishing 13th.

But the 56-year-old was said to be frustrated by their approach in the transfer market, with a number of first-team players departing this summer and few replacements found.

Wolves have sold the likes of Ruben Neves, Conor CoadyNathan Collins and Raul Jimenez and have only brought in two players on free transfers - Matt Doherty and Tom King.

The club's statement added: "Talks have been ongoing in recent weeks, held with the utmost respect and cordiality, affording the club time and space to begin work on finding a successor, while also ensuring that Julen and his backroom staff could continue their planned preparation to ensure the playing squad would be in the best possible condition for the start of the Premier League season."

In his own statement Lopetegui said: "I wish Wolves and everybody at the club the very best of luck for the future, and thank them for the opportunity granted at the time to take charge of this wonderful club.

"It has been an honor to enjoy this adventure. Also, of course, I want to thank the players, who have always given the maximum to achieve our objectives, and especially the fans that made me feel like one of them from the very first moment and have always been amazing to me, my staff and my family."

Lopetegui, whose backroom staff of Pablo SanzJuan PeinadoOscar CaroEdu RubioBorja De Alba Alonso and Daniel Lopetegui will also leave, took over with the club in dire straits.

'Great shape' - He won nine league games from that point, beating Liverpool and Tottenham at Molineux, as the club finished safely in mid-table to extend its top-flight stay into a sixth season.

"On behalf of everyone at the club I'd like to thank Julen and his staff for their dedication and hard work during their time at the football club," said sporting director Matt Hobbs. "They were brought in with the primary aim of keeping the club in the Premier League last season, an objective which they achieved with games to spare. While our ambition had been to move into the new season together, it is public knowledge that there were differences of opinion on some key topics, and it was agreed by all parties that it would be best to part ways ahead of the new campaign. After a successful pre-season, full of hard work and good performances, Julen and his staff leave the squad in great shape ahead of the season opener next week, which will give his successor the best possible platform for success."

Wolves opens the 2023-24 season away to Manchester United on Monday.


© Agence France-Presse

1 comment about "Premier League: Julen Lopetegui quits as Wolves coach on eve of season".
  1. R2 Dad, August 9, 2023 at 10:07 a.m.

    Club must be on the market. Any owner just hoping to stay up won't.

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