Nuno Espirito Santo secured Wolves back-to-back seventh placed finishes with only a fraction of Everton's wage bill.

The Portuguese coach is now the firm favourite to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison with further talks to finalise his appointment expected this weekend.

Espirito Santo took charge of the Molineux club in 2017 and guided them to the Championship title in his first season.

And during the club's first term back in the Premier League, official club accounts confirm that Wolves operated with a wage bill of just over £92m.

The former Valencia boss guided his side to a seventh-placed finish, beating Everton to the final Europa League qualifying spot by three points.

Everton's wage bill that season was £160m, but for a 13 month period.

Wolves repeated the feat the following season, finishing seventh, three points clear of Arsenal as Everton slumped to 12th, with a wage bill just under £95m.

The Blues were paying out close to £165m that season.

Figures for the season just played, in which Everton finished 10th and Wolves were 13th and 14 points worse off, have yet to be published.

Everton are trying to significantly reduce the club's wage bill and want it closer to £100m. Espirito Santo showed on two occasions how operating with one of the smallest budgets in the league was no barrier to success.

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In his four years at Wolves, the ex-Porto man's transfer spend is reported to be in the region of £284m but the club also recouped around £120m in player sales during that time.

Espirito Santo is a long-time client of Jorge Mendes and the super-agent's relationship with Wolves helped secure the services of numerous players during his time at Molineux.