Wolverhampton Wanderers have appointed Spaniard Julen Lopetegui as their new head coach, the relegation-threatened Premier League club announced on Saturday.
Former Spain, Real Madrid and Sevilla coach Lopetegui replaces caretaker manager Steve Davis, who was put in charge of the team following Bruno Lage’s dismissal last month.
Lopetegui had been linked with a move to Wolves last month, but initially turned down the offer, according to reports in British media.
Wolves had previously said Davis would remain in charge until the end of the year. The club lost three of their five matches under the Englishman.
Lopetegui, 56, will take up the role after the club’s league fixture against Arsenal on Nov. 12. His first match in the dugout will come in December, following the conclusion of the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 World Cup in Qatar.
“Julen is a top coach, with excellent experience at an elite level of the game, and we are very pleased to have agreed a deal to bring him to Wolves,” Wolves chairman Jeff Shi said in a statement.
“Since the very beginning, Julen has been our number one choice to manage Wolves, and we look forward to welcoming him and his team when they join us in the coming weeks.”
Lopetegui, who represented both Barcelona and Real Madrid during his playing career, began coaching in Spain’s youth set-up, before spells at Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish second division and Portuguese club Porto.
He was first linked with the top job at Wolves in 2016, but took over as Spain coach following the retirement of Vicente Del Bosque.
He was sacked by Spain two days before the 2018 World Cup after agreeing to become Real Madrid manager after the tournament, and was then dismissed by the Spanish giants months later following a woeful start to his spell in charge.
Lopetegui’s most successful stint in club management came at Sevilla, where he spent three years in charge, leading them to the Europa League title in 2020. He was sacked by the LaLiga side last month after a poor run of results left them 17th in the standings.
Wolves, 19th in the Premier League with 10 points from 13 games, host Brighton & Hove Albion later on Saturday.
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