Julen Lopetegui told the Wolverhampton Wanderers board that he would not sign a player he did not speak to directly.
New Wolves boss Lopetegui will take up training for the first time this weekend after belatedly agreeing to succeed Bruno Lage. He has been tasked with saving bottom-of-the-table Wolves from relegation and has four weeks to work with his side before the Premier League resumes on Boxing Day.
There is only a month left until the transfer window and Lopetegui has already revealed that Wolves are looking for extras. While Lopetegui will not reveal which positions he wants to consolidate, he is expected to target at least one central defender and striker.
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Lopetegui, 56, will have a big say in Wolves’ transfer deals and has brought two of his sidekicks – Fran Garragarza and son Daniel Lopetegui – to join the club’s recruitment squad.
Garagarza and Lopetegui junior will both report to new sporting director Matt Hobbs following the departure of head coach Scott Sellars. They have already analyzed potential targets for January – but Hobbs has made it clear that no player will be signed without a face-to-face meeting with the Wolves manager.
Hobbs said: “Julen won’t sign a player he hasn’t spoken to, which is something we’ve wanted for a while. He wants to meet every player before signing them, either face-to-face or a Zoom call because he wants to get a feel for them as people.
“We work with Fran, who will be traveling all over Europe for us, and Dan whose insight has been invaluable, but we all communicate regularly and it has been easy to establish relationships so far.
“They came up with a list of players they thought could help us, and Ben and the team worked on our team, but what helped build the relationships was that we had a lot of the same names, which quickly showed that everyone was on the same page.
“In the position we’re in, players who wouldn’t normally come in and work with us interact, which has a lot to do with the head coach, but we need to make sure we keep an eye on the end goal of success. However, guiding us to safety as soon as possible is this. The season is the first part of our plan.”