Nuno Espirito Santo’s decision to quit Wolves last week came as a big shock.
He seemed happy and content with the direction in which the Old Gold were heading but, following a dialogue with Jeff Shi, he decided to hand in his resignation.
You can hardly blame him, either. The Portuguese was going to have small resources to work with this summer and they would have to sell their best players in order to spend big.
The Molineux outfit have consulted Jorge Mendes in their bid to find a new coach, with former Benfica manager Bruno Lage the frontrunner. Paulo Fonseca has also been in the frame but, according to Wolves legend Steve Bull, they should consider Julen Lopetegui.
When questioned by Football Transfer Tavern about whether he would be a good appointment, Bull commented: “I think so, I think so. There’ll be names bandied left, right and centre. If [Jose] Mourinho was free, you would have dropped him in the hat as well. But, you know, it’s just a lottery at the moment.”
Lopetegui has had an interesting couple of years in management. He was set to lead Spain at the 2018 World Cup but was relieved of his duties on the eve of the tournament after agreeing to become Real Madrid manager after the competition had finished.
Following a string of bad results, he was sacked in October of that year after just a matter of months at the helm.
He has enjoyed a fabulous renaissance with Sevilla, however, winning the Europa League with the Spanish outfit in 2020.
Lopetegui developed a system which involved wing-backs and turned the Andalucians into a defensive powerhouse. Considering how poor Wolves were at the back this term, he could prove beneficial in leading them back up the table.
The Old Gold kept just ten clean sheets from their 38 league games this term, letting in goals on a regular basis. In 14 league matches between October and January, they only maintained two shut-outs during a wretched run of form.
Lopetegui could ensure that this drastically improves. His Sevilla team kept an incredible haul of 25 clean sheets in 54 matches this season.
The 54-year-old dubbed Nuno a “great coach” when the two teams met last season in the Europa League and has enjoyed great success with a defensive duo of Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos. Those two defenders arrived during his first summer in charge, proving that Lopetegui knows what he’s looking for in the transfer market.
Basing his philosophy on a possession-based brand of football, that would suit a Wolves team with plenty of ball-playing midfielders and defenders in their team.
Lopetegui endured a turbulent year in 2018 but has since shown great dedication and focus at Sevilla. He should definitely be considered by Jeff Shi and Fosun.