If you’re the sort who longs for the simpler days before business, finance and agents wrote the football headlines, turn away now.
Because by all indications, a ‘super-agent’ will soon be our de-facto Director of Football and his tentacles are wrapped tight around the football side of Manchester United.
The current antagonist – Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes – has been involved in many an affair at Old Trafford over the years. In fact, he and his firm Gestifute have been deeply involved in the Premier League for over a decade.
He has strong ties with his countryman Jose Mourinho and has been behind plenty of deals at both Chelsea and Manchester United over the years.
Let’s take a look at the timeline.
- Mendes is a failed footballer and former nightclub manager. He did his first deal as an agent in 1996 and his first international transfer in 2002.
- The agent built his business by poaching top future talent from the many soccer schools in his homeland and has also been known to steal away clients from other agents in what I’ll call an ‘unfriendly manner’.
- It’s well known that Mendes reps Cristiano Ronaldo and arranged his transfers to Manchester United in 2003 and Real Madrid in 2009.
- In 2004, he brokered Mourinho’s move to Chelsea – despite the Special One and his current agent having already been dealing with Liverpool. A flood of Mendes clients followed Jose to London – including Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho.
- Mendes helped arrange Mourinho’s subsequent moves to Internazionale and Real Madrid, and helped another client – Luiz Felipe Scolari – land the vacant Chelsea gig in 2008.
- Remember the summer we signed Nani and Anderson? That was Mendes, too.
- Bébé? Recommended to United by Mendes another of his clients – Carlos Queiroz.
- More recent history has of course seen some of Mendes’ biggest clients move to [and subsequently from] MUFC. Namely Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao.
So what’s next for the man who famously had an office at the Bernabeu and who allegedly torpedoed Louis van Gaal’s big day as revenge for some failed transfers?
Taking a look at the top of Mendes’ client list [courtesy transfermarkt.co.uk] I’d say a summer full of links to James Rodriguez, William Carvalho and Andre Gomes.