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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Should Wolves fans be concerned about Jorge Mendes’ relationship with the club?

Jake Jackman

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Wolverhampton Wanderers are going to take the headlines if they manage to complete a club-record transfer for Porto midfielder Ruben Neves.

The Mirror report that the Midlands’ club have agreed on a fee of £18 million to sign the 20-year-old. If this does go through, it will represent a major coup for the Championship team as the player has been followed by top six Premier League clubs recently.

Porto’s financial problems are the reason behind a fee being agreed, but it is Jorge Mendes who has been the influential figure in taking this transfer to the point of completion.

Why is Ruben Neves moving to Wolves?

It would be near impossible for the majority, if not all, of the other teams in the Championship to do this deal. Firstly, there are few in the division that possess the finances that the Wolves ownership do. Another reason is that Ruben Neves will see his future at the highest level and a move to the English second tier is unlikely to appeal. This begs the question, why Wolves?

After taking over the club last summer, Fosun have completely changed the recruitment process and they are now targeting more foreign players, with several having links to Jorge Mendes. Paul Lambert left the club earlier this summer after only seven months, as he was unhappy with Mendes’ influence over transfers, as reported by Sky Sports.

The club have since denied that the Portuguese super-agent has too much influence over transfers, with the managing director, Laurie Dalrymple, stating that ‘he is a friend’ of the owners. He made it clear that Mendes is nothing more than an advisor to the club as an official position would break notable regulations.

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Although not every signing has been related to Mendes, it is difficult not to be concerned at the relationship between the agent and Wolves. Last summer, Helder Costa, Silvio, Ivan Cavaleiro and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson were all signed with the help of the agent, to name only a few. Meanwhile, the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo as manager and the signing of Roderick Miranda have shown the questionable relationship this summer.

It has often been said in recent years that agents have too much power in the game, but the link between Mendes and Wolves takes it to a whole new level. Helder Costa is too good for the Championship and Neves will be too if he moves to Molineux.

Although it is great that the Midlands club are attracting exciting talent to their club, the motivations of the players and Mendes, in particular, have to be questioned. It is unlikely the agent is bringing these players to the Championship because he has the best interests of Wolves in mind.

Should the Wolves fans be worried?

The majority of supporters on social media are embracing the new direction, despite Jorge Mendes being the influential figure behind it. They haven’t had the best few years and they now have owners that are prepared to spend big for the club. Without the link with Mendes, they wouldn’t have been able to attract this talent. At this stage, many see them as promotion contenders and it is difficult to argue with that, especially if they continue to spend money.

For outsiders looking in, the relationship with Mendes is cheapening Wolves and making the club little more than a tool that he is using to further his own interests. To begin with, he will be earning a significant amount of money from the transfers to take his players to the Midlands. He will then know that if they perform well, they will be sold on for more money, which will bring him an even larger pay day.

Mendes won’t care hugely if the team win promotion, as long as the players that he represents play well. The conflict of interest is clear to anybody that glances at the transfer business being conducted at Molineux and it will only be a matter of time before the authorities take a closer look.

Mendes has been in the game too long to break any rules, but that doesn’t mean that this relationship is right. There are positives and negatives. Wolves’ fans are going to focus on the positives and that is understandable. However, for everyone else, the rumoured deal for Neves comes with strings attached. We may never find out what they are, but it would be ignorant to suggest that they aren’t there.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Championship

Arrival of Victor Lindelof would be the final nail in coffin for Roderick Miranda’s Wolves career

The Swedish international has been heavily linked with a move to Wolves.

Mathew Coull

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This week it has been reported that Wolverhampton Wanderers are beginning their preparations for next season, by making a move for Manchester United centre-back Victor Lindelof. The Mirror report that the £31 million Sweden international is the target of a loan switch from the newly promoted Midlands club.

It would be a fine move from Wolves as Lindelof has proven he is a highly talented defender this season, even if occasionally error-prone.

However, if he was to arrive, what would it mean for some of Wolves’ current centre-back options, namely, Roderick Miranda.

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Signed last summer from Rio Ave the Jorge Mendes client went straight into the starting XI at Wolves. He cost the club a fee reported to be in the region of £2.5 million by The Sun and looked a solid signing for the upcoming campaign. However, after a 2-1 loss to QPR in October the 27-year-old suddenly found himself out of favour.

Miranda played just three more Championship games for the club, including the recent 3-0 loss to Sunderland.

The defender was simply outplayed by his competition at the club and, in January, he was even linked with a move back to his homeland. Portuguese paper Record reported that Braga were keen on the player and he could be open to a return home.

If Lindelof was to arrive than surely the nail is in the coffin for Miranda’s career at Wolves.

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Simply put, he has not looked up to the standard necessary to play Championship football let alone in the Premier League.

Not many Wolves fans will be disappointed if he is moved on in the summer, especially with the likes of Lindelof reportedly in the club’s crosshairs. If the Manchester United man arrives, it is surely the end for Miranda at Molineux.

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Championship

Renato Sanches must heed Carlos Carvalhal advice and ignore Wolves interest

The Portugal talent has been linked with a move to newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Mathew Coull

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When Swansea City managed to convince Renato Sanches to head to the Liberty Stadium in the summer it looked like one of the coups of the transfer window. The Portuguese prospect had shone at the European Championships in 2016, being named the best young player in the competition. Such form had earned him a move to Bayern Munich. There, things had stalled for the young talent, but he was still an eye-catching recruit for the Swans.

However, he struggled to find his best form in South Wales. He ended up out of the team more than he was in it, playing just 704 minutes of Premier League football as Swansea were relegated to the Championship. The ‘highlight’ of his time at the club, arguably his mislayed pass toward an advertising hoarding he mistook for a team-mate v Chelsea in November.

(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

But it seems the Bayern youngster may get a Premier League reprieve. Championship winners Wolverhampton Wanderers are said to be interested in adding the talented midfielder to their Portuguese ranks.

Diario de Noticias have reported that Wolves are keen to bring Sanches to Molineux this summer ahead of a Premier League campaign.

But despite the interest from Wolves, surely a return to Benfica is in the best interests of the young player. That is indeed the thought of outgoing Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal, who was quoted by The Telegraph as stating:

“Renato knows he has had a very bad season. He is not at the level he was and when he had the injury in January, it finished him. He would agree this has been a really bad season for him. Someone told me he could go back to Benfica and if he can, it is the best step for him…

“I think by going back to Benfica and having his friends and mother and father around him – and a good club to support him – he can achieve the best level. He needs to go back to Portugal because he is a boy and he is not ready for Premier League level.”

Whilst a move to Wolves could be beneficial, considering the amount of his countryman at the club, Carvalhal’s point is valid.

The 20-year-old appears to have gone backward since his move to Bayern and the Premier League looked to be a step too far for him last season.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Playing week-in week-out at this intensity was clearly not something Sanches is yet ready to achieve, doing so with Wolves will surely not be any different.

Wolves can be forgiven for their interest in the player. His performances at Euro 2016 were such that his poor form since is often forgotten.

But the best move for the player would be to head home and finish his development. One day, he will surely become the star it seemed he would. But right now, a move to Wolves could just set him back even further.

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Bournemouth

Wolves must ensure Benik Afobe stays at Molineux next season

Josh Kerr

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Afobe
Photo: Getty Images

Wolves have secured their promotion to the Premier League in emphatic style. Registering 99 points as champions is a fantastic achievement for the Midlands side.

However, there is still business that needs attending to before returning to the promise lands of England’s top division.

Wolves striker and Bournemouth loanee Benik Afobe’s future is still undecided and the Wanderers have to act fast if they are to make the deal permanent.

According to the Birmingham Live, there are terms of their loan agreement with Bournemouth that state the club have until May 31st to decide on whether they will make the deal permanent.

The Bournemouth Echo have also reported that Wolves will get first choice as to whether they sign the £12 million-rated striker on a permanent deal.

Despite not being a regular feature in the Championship all season, Afobe still boasts six league goals from nine appearances proving he could have more to offer next season.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Also, considering his experience in the Premier League, the 25-year-old would be a useful addition as they prepare for life in the top flight.

Afobe endured a successful first spell at the Molineux Stadium before his move to Bournemouth, reported by BBC Sport to be in the region of £10 million.

His initial two years at the club saw 23 goals in 48 appearances and the former England under-21’s star quickly became a fan favourite before leaving for the Cherries in 2016.

He rejoined Wolves in the January window, on loan, leaving the striker “crying in his car with happiness”, according to BBC Sport.

The 6ft striker has 63 Premier League appearances under his belt, and for £12 million it is surely worth the expenditure to have Afobe leading in the dressing room next season.

The move would be ideal for both parties as Afobe has failed to establish himself as Bournemouth’s first choice striker, falling behind the likes of Joshua King, Callum Wilson and Jermaine Defoe in Eddie Howe’s side.

Wolves supporters were delighted to see their former hero return home, and with a full season ahead of him, Afobe could be the man to help fire the goals that could keep the Midlands outfit in the division next season.

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