Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui will leave just DAYS before their Premier League opener against Manchester United, with former Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil likely to replace him.
- Julen Lopetegui’s relationship with the club soured as a result of the transfer policy
- Gary O’Neil’s removal at Bournemouth after ensuring survival came as a surprise
- Lopetegui had been set for crucial talks with Wolves bosses about his future.
Julen Loptegui was set to leave Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday three days before the Premier League kick-off after holding talks over a seven-figure compensation package with the Molineux club.
The Spaniard, who is likely to be replaced by Gary O’Neil, had two years to go with a lucrative contract that made him the highest-paid manager in the club’s history.
Lopetegui kept Wolves last season after joining in November when they were bottom of the table, but relations have since soured over disagreements over transfer policy.
O’Neil led Bournemouth to a comfortable survival last season after replacing Scott Parker early in the campaign, but, to the surprise of many, he was transferred in June in favor of Spanish manager Andoni Iraola.
In preparation for Lopetegui’s possible departure, Wolves had been considering possible successors for some time and O’Neil topped the list.
Julen Loptegui was set to leave Wolves on Tuesday night after discussions with the club
Gary O’Neil was transferred to Bournemouth despite a good season in charge and tops Wolves’ list of potential Lopetegui successors.
Wolves Chairman Jeff Shi wrote an open letter explaining the club’s need to comply with FFP regulations.
Wolves would not have to pay compensation for O’Neil and he would cost substantially less than Lopetegui, who was the highest-paid manager in the club’s history. O’Neil, 40, was expected to sign an initial two-year contract.
The departure of Lopetegui’s son Daniel, who had forged a strong relationship with sports director Matt Hobbs, was also expected, along with Lopetegui’s assistants Pablo Sanz, Juan Peinado and Edu Rubio, and physical trainers Óscar Caro and Borja Alonso. .
Lopetegui did not direct the training of the first team, which took place late on Tuesday afternoon, while his representatives finalized the terms of his departure.
Wolves chairman Jeff Shi wrote an open letter on the club’s website last week, explaining the need to comply with financial Fair Play requirements.
Shi wrote: “As club owners and managers, one important thing we need to learn and follow is the Premier League’s rules on profit and sustainability (previously called financial fair play or FFP for short).
“Before the end of the 2023/24 season there will be an annual test and we will make sure to pass it, as we have done in the last five seasons.”
Despite keeping the Molineux club on its feet last season, relations soured over a disagreement over transfer policy.
Wolves received some £47m from Al-Hilal after selling star midfielder Ruben Neves
Matt Doherty is one of only two summer signings at Molineux, having returned for free
To meet that target, Wolves have recouped £91m in player sales this summer, including captain Ruben Neves’ £47m move to Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal.
They only added defender Matt Doherty and goalkeeper Tom King on free transfers, drawing Lopetegui’s ire.
The wolves counter that they strongly backed Lopetegui last January, sanctioning deals worth up to £77m, after also committing more than £120m in fees 12 months ago.
Some of the money spent in January had originally been reserved for the summer, but Wolves decided to use it early to give themselves a better chance of survival.