Julen Lopetegui walks away from Wolves after just nine months on the job

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
10/08/2023
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Wolves and Julen Lopetegui have decided to part ways after only nine months

Julen Lopetegui and Wolves have parted ways. Former Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil is tipped to take Lopetegui’s place.

News Insights

  • Lack of investment was an immediate concern for Lopetegui.
  • Wolves have lost several key players this offseason
  • All signs point towards the former Bournemouth manager Gary O'Neil taking over for Lopetegui at Molineux.
  • Wolves are one of the most-likely teams to be relegated this season.

Julen Lopetegui and Wolverhampton Wanderers have agreed to go their separate ways following a prolonged dispute over club ownership’s inability and unwillingness to invest in Wolves’ playing squad. 

Lopetegui had signed a three-year contract and was appointed as manager just nine months ago when Wolves were in a relegation battle. 

Wolves Premier League season starts next Monday away at Manchester United. 

Lack of investment led to Lopetegui departure

When former Spain and Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui replaced caretaker manager Steve Davis at Wolves in November, he was apparently under the impression the West Midlands club had more money to spend than they did. 

Lack of investment was an immediate concern for Lopetegui. Despite this, the Spaniard managed to lead Wolves into a comfortable 13th place finish in the Premier Leagues. However, it seems Lopetegui’s concern about the lack of investment was not forgotten among the club’s modest success. 

If reports are to be trusted, Lopetegui’s concerns must have gotten more and more uncomfortable as the 2023-24 Premier League season approached. Much of Lopetegui’s uneasiness reportedly stemmed from the amount of players Wolves let go without replacing them. 

Wolves have lost several key players this offseason, including former captain Ruben Neves to Saudi Professional League's Al-Hilal, Nathan Collins to Brentford, Conor Coady to Leicester City, Raul Jimenez to Fulham, and Ryan Giles to Luton Town. Only Tom King and Matt Doherty have joined Wolves. Both were free transfers. Matheus Cunha and Boubacar Traoré also joined due to mandatory clauses in their loans.

Neither party has admitted lack of investment caused Lopetegui’s departure from Wolves, but it is hinted at in Wolves’ announcement of his departure. 

Wolves stated, “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."

Gary O’Neil hiring imminent 

Wolves have yet to announce their replacement for Lopetegui. However, all signs point towards the former Bournemouth manager Gary O'Neil taking over for Lopetegui at Molineux.

Wolves will be just O'Neil’s second first-team coaching position. He previously guided Bournemouth to a 15th-place season in the Premier League after taking over for Scott Parker early on in the season. Despite his success in keeping the Cherries in the Premier League, the 40-year-old former Portsmouth man was eventually let go at the end of the season. 

Bournemouth are now led by the former Athletic Club player and Rayo Vallecano manager Andoni Iraola. O’Neil and his new club are scheduled to face off against Iraola and Bournemouth on October 21. 

Wolves among relegation favourites

Prospective new manager Gary O'Neil earned a name for himself during his short time at Bournemouth as a relegation specialist. If you trust the experts and the sports betting sites, a relegation specialist is exactly what Wolves will need this season. 

Wolves are one of the most-likely teams to be relegated this season. Bet365 gives the West Midlands club 3.25 odds to go down. Only Luton Town and Sheffield United have worse odds. It is not just bet365 down on Wolves. All the best soccer betting sites have give them similar odds. 

Whether it is Gary O’Neil or someone else, the new Wolves manager will have an extremely difficult task ahead of them this season.