Connect with us

La Liga

Ex-Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui leading candidate for Villarreal job

Quique Setien’s managerial career at Villarreal is over after less than a year following the club’s dismal start to the new La Liga campaign.

El Submarino Amarillo appointed t the 64-year-old to fill the vacancy after Unai Emery left the province of Castellon to take over Aston Villa last October.

Despite leading his side to a fifth-place finish last term, only barely missing out on Champions League qualification, Setien’s poor results at the start of 2023/24 have taken their toll.

Villarreal released an official statement yesterday to announce the ex-Barcelona tactician’s sacking on the back of a disastrous 3-1 defeat at perennial relegation fighters Cadiz last week.

That result condemned the former Europa League winners to a third loss in four league matches this season, sealing Setien’s fate.

According to Spanish media outlet AS, Julen Lopetegui has emerged as the front-runner to take the job after parting company with Wolverhampton Wanderers in early August.

Frustrated with the club’s lack of ambition in the summer transfer window, the 57-year-old left the managerial post by mutual consent, with Gary O’Neil taking his place in the dugout.

Lopetegui spent three years at the helm of Sevilla before departing Andalusia to take charge of Wolves in the first half of last season, helping the club navigate away from the relegation zone.

He left his mark in Spanish football as Sevilla manager, leading Los Rojiblancos to Europa League glory in 2019/20 following a less impressive stint at Real Madrid.

Unfortunately, his career in the Premier League failed to meet the expectations of the Molineux hierarchy, as they refused to back him in the summer transfer window.

But Lopetegui is not the only candidate to replace Setien, with Villarreal considering former Real Valladolid coach Pacheta as another possible alternative.

September’s international window has provided the Spanish club with enough time to choose their next manager, and there’s a feeling Lopetegui could be heading back to his homeland.

More in La Liga