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Wolves set to appoint Julen Lopetegui as new head coach

Wolves are set to appoint Julen Lopetegui as their new head coach within the next 24-48 hours, the Express & Star understands.

Julen Lopetegui (PA)
Julen Lopetegui (PA)

The club’s long search for a new head coach is finally set to end as the former Spain and Real Madrid boss prepares to take over at Molineux.

Lopetegui is due to be announced soon but will not begin in his new role until after the Arsenal fixture on November 12, meaning he will not take charge of any games before the World Cup break.

Interim head coach Steve Davis will take charge of the team for the home Premier League clashes with Brighton and Arsenal, as well as the Carabao Cup fixture with Leeds at Molineux.

After sacking Bruno Lage on October 2, Wolves moved to appoint Lopetegui, as executive chairman Jeff Shi flew to Spain to hold talks with the 56-year-old. Wolves were rebuffed when the Spaniard reluctantly turned down the job to look after his elderly father.

That marked the second time Lopetegui had turned down Wolves. In 2016 he was due to be Fosun’s first appointment as head coach but he rejected the role at the final moment in favour of taking the Spain national team job.

Now, it is third time lucky for Shi and Wolves as they are set to finally land their man.

Wolves were respectful and cautious with Lopetegui’s family situation and it is understood he initiated talks himself late last week and negotiations have advanced swiftly.

The news brings to an end a managerial search that has lasted almost five weeks.

In that time, Wolves also considered a move for former boss Nuno Espirito Santo, as talks were held with his representatives. In the end, they decided not to pursue him.

Having interviewed several candidates, their attentions then turned to Michael Beale, but the QPR manager changed his mind at the last minute to stay at the London club. Wolves then announced they would stick with Davis until 2023, but that quickly changed once Lopetegui became available again.

Meanwhile, Wolves are set to enjoy a warm weather training camp in Spain during the World Cup.

The players not playing for their countries will initially have some time off before they jet off for a week, where they are expected to play some friendly games.

The final details are yet to be finalised and the new head coach is expected to have an input before they are completed.

Wolves did travel to Spain in the summer for a pre-season trip, as well as a weekend in Portugal before the season began.

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