Former Portsmouth midfielder Gary O’Neil has been linked with the manager’s position at Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers, as reported by The Daily Mirror.
The former Portsmouth midfielder was discussed by higher-ups at the Molineux for three hours as the club braces themselves for the likely departure of Julen Lopetegui after just one year in charge. The Express & Star reports that the Spaniard is set to leave the club and has today held talks over his future, with both parties believed to be discussing a financial package for his exit. The talks are thought to be amicable between both parties, with Wolves forced into looking for a replacement for the 56-year-old following his anger at the lack of spending at the club.
Numerous important first-team players have left the Molineux, with Ruben Neves one of the names that moved to Saudi Arabia, and striker Raul Jimenez completed a move to Premier League side Fulham in a deal worth £5 million. The side needs to make a profit this year to avoid a breach of sustainability rules after spending in recent years. The club have only brought in two players this summer so far, both being free transfers, and Lopetegui has publicly criticised the club for the lack of spending in the transfer market.
O’Neil was discussed for three hours as a potential replacement, the 40-year-old having just left his first job in coaching after guiding Bournemouth to Premier League survival. Surprisingly, the Cherries still opted to part ways with O’Neil at the end of the season. The former Portsmouth man was tasked with what seemed an impossible job when he replaced Scott Parker, who the club parted ways with after a 9-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool. Despite the task at hand looking tough, he still managed to pull off an escape for Bournemouth, regardless of a win percentage below 30% with the club.
The 40-year-old was with Portsmouth for the first seven years of his playing career and was given his debut by Tony Pulis as a 16-year-old. He was one of the few faces to remain in the side once Harry Redknapp took over at Fratton Park but eventually moved on from the South Coast in 2007 to join Middlesborough.
O’Neil’s departure from Bournemouth was a surprise given the circumstances, he had done the job he was brought in to do by the club, but they still chose to part ways with the first-time manager. Wolves look like they could be one of the teams in that battle at the bottom next year, having sold plenty of important players, so the Englishman’s experience last year could be beneficial to the club next season.