It has been confirmed that at the end of the season, the curtains will be drawn on Nuno Espirito Santo’s thoroughly successful four-year stint at Wolves by mutual consent.
Since taking over back in May 2017, Nuno won the Championship title in his inauguration campaign before guiding the club to two successive seventh-place finishes upon their return to the top flight. Under his tuition, they also reached an FA Cup semi final (losing in memorable fashion to Watford FC), and the quarter final stages of the Europa League, narrowly losing out to eventual winners Sevilla.
He restored pride and passion to a club stranded in mediocrity and he is deservedly renowned as a legendary figure in the West Midlands. During the fabled 2017/18 promotion season, Wolves amassed 99 points- the most they’ve ever tallied up in the second tier. Along with this, Nuno’s side became the first to reach the quarter finals of a European competition in close to nearly 50 years.
However, Wolves have endured mixed fortunes this term. Many had tipped them to progress further following their prior success, though a number of injuries suffered over the course of the season- most notably the absence of star forward Raul Jimenez- have plagued the side, who can now finish no higher than 12th place.
Nuno will take charge of his final game in the Wolves dugout this Sunday as they play host to Manchester United. Indeed, it is very fitting that his last match will be the first that the Molineux Stadium has welcomed supporters into for 14 months- and you can imagine that the vehement home crowd will give him quite the send off.
Speaking on his departure, Nuno said:
We achieved our goals, we did it with passion and we did it together… I want to thank the supporters, who have all played such an important part in helping us reach new heights for Wolves, and the people at the city, who embraced us and feel at home. Sunday will be a very emotional day, but I am so happy that the fans will be back in Molineux and we can share that one last special moment together, as one pack.via wolves.co.uk
Wolves’ executive chairman Jeff She added:
Nuno has brought us some incredibly special moments at Wolves that will never be forgotten, but every chapter comes to an end. His loyalty and dedication over the last four years has been immeasurable, and we cannot thank him enough for the progress he has made for Wolves. Sunday was already going to be a very special day, welcoming our supporters back for the first time in more than a year; but it will also now be a fitting goodbye for someone who will forever remain an important part of Wolves history.via wolves.co.uk
It appears that preparations for life without Nuno had been in motion for some time as recent reports state that Wolves have made contact with former Benfica manager Bruno Lage. The 45-year old, a client of Jorge Mendes’ Gestifute Agency, spent time managing the Benfica reserve team before being appointed as first team manager in January 2019.
Lage won the Portuguese top flight and Primeira Liga’s best coach that season, however, he left Lisbon last July after a run of two wins from 13 matches. He has been out of management since and has previously had spells on British shores with assistant manager roles at Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City- under Carlos Carvalhal.
Lage is known to be the primary target and reports state that one of the key advantages from hiring him stem from his ability to ‘develop’ the club’s young talent. That could come as a plus for Wolves, who have a range of exciting prospects currently at their disposal; Pedro Neto, Fabio Silva, and Morgan Gibbs-White to name a few.
Another name that has been linked to the vacant Wolves job is current Porto boss Sergio Conceicao. A former winger who played for the likes of Lazio and Inter Milan, Conceicao replaced Nuno back in 2017- when he initially left for Wolves- and has gone on to lift two league titles with the Portuguese giants.
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