Express & Star

Julen Lopetegui and Wolves part ways ahead of 2023/24 Premier League season

Head coach Julen Lopetegui has left Wolves just days before the start of the 2023/24 Premier League season.

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The Spaniard had arrived at Compton earlier on Tuesday for crunch talks over his future and with plans to agree a financial settlement for Lopetegui and his backroom team, who were all on significant wages.

Now, the club have announced 'an agreement to part ways' with Lopetegui after a nine-month spell in charge and just six days before Wolves kick-off their Premier League campaign.

His backroom team of Pablo Sanz, Juan Peinado, Oscar Caro, Edu Rubio, Borja De Alba Alonso and Daniel Lopetegui have also departed, while recently appointed goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler remains in his post.

Sporting director Matt Hobbs said: “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. 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.

“We wish Julen and his team the very best of luck for the future, and they will always be welcome at Wolves.”

Lopetegui arrived last November and saved Wolves from relegation, when they were bottom of the table.

Wolves insist this parting of ways was done 'with the utmost respect and cordiality, affording the club time and space to begin work on finding a successor', however tensions have risen over the club's lack of spending, which had led to Lopetegui being publicly angry.

The head coach, in a statement released by the club, also does not name chairman Jeff Shi.

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 honour to enjoy this adventure in the day-to-day company of Matt Hobbs, Matt Wild, head of player care Lisa Hollis and every single employee of the club; whom I wish to thank for their support and help at every moment.

“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.”

Wolves have not officially confirmed the next head coach, but it is understood former Bournemouth boss Gary O'Neil is the number one choice and frontrunner for the job.