The former Bournemouth boss has signed a three-year contract at Molineux until 2026 and officially takes the reins only five days before the club begin the 2023/24 top-flight campaign with a tough trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday night.
O’Neil’s swift appointment had been widely expected after confirmation on Tuesday that Lopetegui and Wolves had agreed to part ways after only nine months following weeks of talks and “differences of opinion on certain issues”.
Lopetegui’s backroom staff, a team comprised of Pablo Sanz, Juan Peinado, Oscar Caro, Edu Rubio, Borja De Alba Alonso and Daniel Lopetegui, also left the club.
“We’re delighted to welcome Gary to the club,” said Wolves sporting director Matt Hobbs on Wednesday. “He’s a highly motivated young coach with strong principles and very well thought of by everyone he has worked with, and we’re excited to see what we can achieve together at Wolves.
“Our players have shown their quality during pre-season, and I believe Gary and his team will continue to coach and improve them and will have success working with this group.
“Everyone at Wolves is looking forward to welcoming Gary, offering him their full support and working collaboratively to help the club to keep pushing forward together.”
A former Premier League midfielder with the likes of Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and West Ham, O’Neil began coaching with Liverpool’s Under-23s and earned promotion to the top-flight as part of Scott Parker’s staff at Bournemouth before being placed in caretaker charge after the latter’s exit following the 9-0 drubbing by Liverpool 12 months ago.
He was handed the job on a permanent basis in November after losing only four of his first 12 matches in charge, but was sacked less than seven months later in June despite guiding the Cherries – most people’s pre-season favourites for relegation – to a respectable 15th-place finish with 10 wins in total from 34 League games at the helm.
It was a shock decision as Bournemouth instead decided to appoint former Spain defender and Rayo Vallecano coach Andoni Iraola as their new boss on a two-year contract.