It’s been nearly three weeks since Wolves parted company with Bruno Lage and the Molineux outfit appear no closer to finding their next manager.
Interim head coaches Steve Davis and James Collins have taken charge of Wolves’ last three games and are expected to be in the dugout once more for Sunday’s clash against Leicester after the club’s latest candidate for the role, QPR boss Michael Beale, rejected the chance to speak to the Premier League side.
Beale is the second coach to have snubbed Wolves’ advances after Julien Lopetegui, the club’s initial first-choice for the role, turned down the chance to take the job.
The outlook for Wolves’ managerial search had been positive on Wednesday with various outlets reporting the club had identified Beale as their preferred successor to Lage.
Talks were expected to be a formality with Beale said to have a release clause in his QPR contract, only for the 42-year-old to take the decision to snub Wolves and stay at Loftus Road.
Beale only took charge of the R’s this summer and has them sitting pretty at the top of the Championship after 15 games.
QPR are 10/3 to go up and Beale intends to see the job he started through, rather than jump ship to fight a relegation battle with Wolves.
A move for an up-and-coming coach with no top-flight experience like Beale would have represented a shift away from the club’s previous managerial vision, which has seen Wolves go for more experienced names since Dean Saunders’ disastrous five-month stint in charge back in 2013 ended in relegation to League One.
With Beale out of the picture, Wolves are expected to go back to their previous criteria, which had seen them target former Real Madrid and Spain boss Lopetegui immediately after letting Lage go.
With Lopetegui ruling himself out on personal grounds, speculation had indicated the club could try to bring Nuno Espirito Santo back to Molineux.
The Portuguese tactician enjoyed a hugely successful four-year stay at Wolves, guiding them back to the Premier League and then recording successive seventh-place finishes in the top flight.
Nuno also oversaw a run to the Europa League quarter-finals and FA Cup semi-finals before leaving in May 2021 after the two parties agreed to go their separate ways.
The 48-year-old went on to have a brief, failed stint in charge of Tottenham before taking charge of Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad Club in July.
Nuno signed a two-year contract in the Middle East and his new club seem intent on holding him to his deal with Al-Ittihad president Anmar Al-Haili telling MBC: "Yes, Nuno Santo has already received calls to coach Wolverhampton, but the coach is committed to his contract with us, which extends for two seasons."
It is understood it would be too costly for Wolves to buy out Nuno’s contract and although he remains on the shortlist, a return to Molineux would appear complicated.
A cheaper option and one Wolves are reportedly considering would be Dutch coach Peter Bosz, who is out of work after leaving French side Lyon last October.
The 58-year-old would represent a bit of a gamble given he would likely want to shake up Wolves’ tactical approach and adopt his more attack-minded style.
Bosz’s aggressive gameplan has worked well at certain clubs, bringing him success at Ajax and Bayer Leverkusen, but his approach also flopped badly, getting him the sack a matter of months after taking charge of both Borussia Dortmund and Lyon.
Pedro Martins is also on the shortlist and is currently available after ending a successful four-year stay at Olympiakos this summer.
Martins, who would be Wolves’ third successive Portuguese manager if he gets the job, won the Greek title in three of his four years in charge of Olympiakos and was named Greek Super League manager of the season on two occasions.
Whoever takes charge of Wolves faces a big job to turn around a club that has been steadily trending downwards since March.
Wolves finished the previous season with a seven-game winless run and have won only twice in the current campaign, leaving them 18th in the Premier League standings.
Their biggest issue remains goals. Only the three relegated sides scored fewer goals than Wolves last season, while their tally of five goals this term is the lowest in the league.
Sunday’s meeting with bottom club Leicester could prove a pivotal fixture in Wolves’ season and it falls on interim coaches Davies and Collins to deliver a much-needed win.
Wolves are 5/4 to pick up only their third victory of the season, with Leicester 11/5 and the draw is 12/5.
A win would at least provide some respite for a group of supporters growing increasingly impatient over the club’s long-running managerial search - one that needs to end shortly if Wolves are to start climbing the table.