Nuno Espírito Santo arrived at Molineux with a reputation for Portuguese titles and Champions League football and has seen his status soar further as Wolves head coach.
His arrival in May 2017 sparked excitement and talk of promotion after six years away from the Premier League, but few could envisage the style in which the Portuguese would guide Wolves to the Championship title in his debut season.
As a player, the goalkeeper lifted the Champions League – one of 12 titles won during two successful spells at Porto – experience he’d carry into a career in coaching with some of Europe’s elite clubs.
Given his break by Rio Ave in 2012, two domestic cup finals followed, as well as qualification for the UEFA Europa League for the first time in the club’s history. Nuno’s achievement didn’t go unnoticed, Valencia was his next destination and a first taste of the Champions League as a coach.
A three-time La Liga Manager of the Month winner, Nuno enhanced his reputation further with victory over Real Madrid and a fourth-place finish in the Spanish top division.
Then came the heroic return to Porto – the club he’d served reliably as a player. In his solitary campaign back at the Estádio do Dragão, Nuno led a Primeira Liga title charge and guided Porto into the knockout stages of the Champions League.
His departure from Porto in the summer of 2017 was Wolves’ gain, as he took on the challenge of meeting Fosun International’s ambitious targets for the football club and hit stage one at the first time of asking.
99 points, a club record for the second tier of English football, was the reward for a sensational debut season in English football. Nuno’s side scored goals in abundance, denied oppositions with a plethora of clean sheets and secured the title with class.
Now, the challenge of Nuno and his diligent team of staff is to continue the club’s upward trajectory at the top level of English football, where they have already masterminded a seamless transmission this season.