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Wolves boss search enters key week with Bruno Lage set for work permit hearing

Wolves’ search for a new boss is expected take a major step forward this week with top target Bruno Lage set for a work permit hearing.

Bruno Lage.
Bruno Lage.

It is understood the 45-year-old will discover on Wednesday whether he is eligible to succeed Nuno Espirito Santo at Molineux.

Lage does not automatically qualify for a work permit under new rules introduced following Britain’s exit from the European Union.

But Wolves are confident he will be granted one on appeal and if so will move forward with plans to make the former Benfica boss their new head coach.

Though Lage, who held face-to-face talks with the club’s hierarchy last week, is not the only candidate under consideration, he remains the clear frontrunner.

Like Nuno, he is a client of Jorge Mendes, while Wolves have also been attracted by both Lage’s reputation for an attacking style of play and the belief appointing another Portuguese boss will continue the dressing room culture developed during his predecessors four years in charge.

Wednesday’s hearing might therefore be considered a pivotal moment in the club’s manager search.

Under the rules, a prospective boss needs to have spent either two consecutive years - or three of the previous five years – working in one of Europe’s top five leagues in order to automatically qualify for a work permit. Otherwise, a points based system is used.

Lage spent 18 months at Benfica in Portugal’s top flight, classed as a second tier league in the regulations, before leaving last summer. Prior to that, he spent three years working in the Premier League and Championship, albeit as assistant to Carlos Carvalhal at both Sheffield Wednesday and then Swansea.

FA criteria state that “the manager (must be of) the highest calibre and able to contribute significantly to the development of the game at the top level”.

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