Julen Lopetegui turns down Wolves – Balague

Julen Lopetegui has turned down the chance to take over as manager of Wolves, says Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.

The 56-year-old met with the Premier League side’s chairman Jeff Shi over the vacant manager’s job at Molineux following the sacking of Bruno Lage.

Lopetegui’s father is not well and that played a part in his decision.

“It’s a heartfelt no [to Wolves] but the personal and professional timing did not coincide,” said Balague.

The ex-Spain boss was available if he wanted the Wolves job as he had recently been sacked by Sevilla.

The send-off he received from the Sevilla fans last week after the Borussia Dortmund game – his last match in charge – showed the gratitude they had towards the manager who led them to a Europa League win and three consecutive qualifications for the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.

Lopetegui was believed to have been Wolves’ number one candidate, having impressed the club’s hierarchy when they first spoke to him about becoming their manager in 2016.

On that occasion, after a 10-day negotiation, the Spanish federation approached Lopetegui and he became Spain manager.

Wolves are third from bottom of the Premier League and have a crucial game against Nottingham Forest, who are currently bottom, at Molineux on Saturday.

“Conversations were very amicable and Wolves managed to put forward such an impressive case of a team that is accidentally towards the bottom of the table, but with a lot of potential and with players that will understand right away what Lopetegui could do with them,” said Balague.

“That made Lopetegui doubt [his refusal], but life decides for you sometimes.

“His dad, 92 and whom Lopetegui is very close to, deserves his attention. It is not a matter of tiredness as he recovers energies by working, and his staff were ready to follow him wherever he went after the intense but very successful time at Sevilla.

“Even though he said no on this occasion and Wolves understood, it is quite clear that – when things are better at home – he will look for a team in the Premier League, his next destination and where he will surely find top clubs interested in what he offers” added Balague.

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Herman Nnyanzi 'The Analyst' is a Ugandan multimedia sports journalist who started his career in 2017. He has a genuine strong love for sports and expertise, especially football. Contact me on +256704472629 or +256786403603

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