After five seasons in the Championship, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC returned on August the 11th at Premier League. It is a club that the last two years through the Fosun International investments has made massive improvements and look to become one of the most innovative clubs in the Premier League. One of the latest success was launching their own esports team in collaboration with Dutch esports agency Bundled.
A renaissance for the club, which however it is difficult to dissociate the name of Jorge Mendes. Because although the latter conducts its business, his shadow hovers well above the Wolves FC.
A few weeks, we learned that the player of the AS Monaco João Moutinho left the Principality to fly across the channel, on the side of Wolverhampton Wanders. If the midfielder has never experienced Premier League grounds, it will yet be far from homesick. Indeed, he will join the important Portuguese colony already present at the club, since there are no less than six players in the squad.
Not to mention the coach, Nuno Espirito Santo, as well as the many players passed through the Portuguese Championship (Raul Jimenez, Willy Boly etc.). But in addition to nationality, the link between all these players has a name: Jorge Mendes. As the agent of all the Portuguese players in the workforce, as well as the coach, so many rumors mentioning that it is hardly possible to believe in a simple coincidence. Even more when we look more carefully at the organizational structure of the club, in which we find the Chinese group Fosun International at the top.
The holding company has bought the English club in 2016, after leading an investment strategy in many sectors of activity (total acquisition of Club Med in 2015, acquisition of shares in the Lanvin group in February,…). In total, nearly 15 billion$ which was invested by the Group in acquisitions abroad between 2010 and 2017. And these investments included Gestifute, which is none other than the player agents firm founded by Jorge Mendes in 1996.
So many think: IS WOLVERHAMPTON, CLUB-SHOWCASE FOR EMPIRE MENDES?
In the light of such speculations, clubs – Aston Villa and Leeds United including – Championship decided to alert the English League, highlighting a conflict of interest between the function of the agent of Portuguese and its links with the shareholders of the club. Some see a form of “Disguised TPO” since the agent would use the club to enhance its players for future gains.
The most striking example is that of the young Ruben Neves, purchased in 2017 to FC Porto against a check around 20 M€. A choice that surprised many observers, as they realised that there is no interest from Neves side to join in the second English division, as he was part of the most promising Portuguese players of his generation in a well-established club playing in Champions League. Others will argue that Neves took this decision in order to get a chance to show his talent.
In addition, many former players of AS Monaco – Ivan Cavaleiro, Helder Costa and now Joao Moutinho – are also present in the Wolves squad. So it is a Club with which Mendes had in the past a major influence on recruitment, especially when James Rodriguez and Falcao arrived in 2013. Many elements lead to think that the powerful agent Jorge Mendes has the hand on the recruitment to lead a team in a Premier League promotion. But in the field Wolves, proved that it was the better team throughout the last season in Championship. Also, the theory has been (partially) denied by leaders of the club at the time of the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo. It was stated that:
“Mendes is someone who, due to his friendship with the owners, give us advice and his vision of things. Nothing more”
Other speculations said that Jorge Mendes will have better control of the Premier League, Championship, where his influence is minor, excluding the case of Cristiano Ronaldo in which it was more about the choice of Sir Alex Ferguson. His strategy with Wolves would then refine its network in this market highlighting some of his players who will have the ability to shine and raise their own value in the football market. Nonetheless, it is a STRATEGY that would be very profitable with the rise of the Wolves in this season 2018-19. For those that like the conspiracy, one of the latest rumors was the possible arrival of Gonzalo Guedes at the Wolves, a player whose career is managed by……. Jorge Mendes! 🙂
Concluding, whatever the case is, the Premier League has decided to not to pursue an open investigation against Wolverhampton Wanders, believing that the links between Jorge Mendes and Fosun were not established and contributed at the management of Wolverhampton Wanders. A verdict which should allow the super agent of the Portuguese stars and the British club to continue their collaboration. Going a bit deeper, the Premier League is a well-marketed product and any kind of potential investigation will cause immaculate damage, bringing back memories of the FIFA corruption. In my opinion, only the time will show whether those rumors are true but definitely, I would love to see a team like Wolves to be able to compete in a high level and why not in the future make a similar miracle like Leicester FC!