Former Wolves manager 'on the brink' of surprise Premier League switch

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Julen Lopetegui is said to be close to joining one of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Premier League rivals.

Former Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Julen Lopetegui is reportedly close to reaching an agreement to become David Moyes’ successor at West Ham United.

The Spaniard, who still lives in Wolverhampton some nine months after leaving the helm at Molineux, has been patiently awaiting a fresh opportunity in the English top flight. That ambition now looks set to become a reality as Lopetegui and his backroom staff are in advanced talks with West Ham.

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That’s according to The Guardian, with a report this Friday suggesting the Hammers are nearing an agreement. Negotiations remain incomplete and Moyes won’t officially conduct talks over his departure until the end of the campaign, but Lopetegui looks like the frontrunner.

That may come as a surprise as West Ham have been heavily linked with Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim, but it’s claimed the London side are reluctant to pay the £12.8 million release clause to pry him away. That leaves Lopetegui as the current favourite, though there are said to be other candidates.

Lopetegui managed 27 Wolves matches, winning 10, drawing five and losing 12.Lopetegui managed 27 Wolves matches, winning 10, drawing five and losing 12.
Lopetegui managed 27 Wolves matches, winning 10, drawing five and losing 12. | Wolves via Getty Images

Having managed Porto, Spain, Real Madrid and Sevilla before Wolves, Lopetegui would arrive a seasoned professional. The 57-year-old, formerly a goalkeeper for Madrid, Barcelona, Logroñes and Rayo Vallecano, has won three major trophies during his coaching career, including the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League.

But the biggest achievement was keeping Wolves in the Premier League last season, or at least that’s what Lopetegui himself believes. He only oversaw 27 matches but 10 wins and five draws were enough to guide the Old Gold to comfortable safety.

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