The Portuguese Revolution

The rising star Wolverhampton Wanderers causes a sensation in England. However, the great influence of the famous player advisor Jorge Mendes is controversial.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers’ fans were quite rebellious when they recently came to Old Trafford to play Manchester United. “Who the fuck are ManUnited,” they sang, showing that they had no respect for the big name of their opponent.

Another battle cry went like this:Nuno is the Special One!” This meant the Portuguese coach Nuno Espírito Santo, who in their opinion deserves the honorary title that United’s coach José Mourinho awarded himself a few years ago. Again and again they sang about where they were going with their coach: “Nuno is taking us to Europe”.

The goal of a climber is usually to stay in the league, rarely the international business. The Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are only called Wolves in England and are playing in the Premier League this season for the first time in six years, are not, however, a normal promoted club.

The club have great ambitions and are doing well on their return to excellence so far. After eight games, the team have only one defeat and already four wins. There have also been two notable draws, against champions Manchester City and during their recent visit to Old Trafford, both ending 1-1.

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Always the same starting eleven

The Wolves can apparently keep up with the big clubs of English football and the wish expressed by the fans for Europe is not the result of pathological feverish dreams. In the past season, small FC Burnley made it into the Europa League qualification as seventh-placed in the table. Wolverhampton now occupies this place before the match against FC Watford this Saturday in the home stadium Molineux.

The team impresses with their consistency. In all eight matches, the same starting team was on the pitch. The defensive is well organised, the Wolves are in possession of the ball and are capable of a passing game that is unusually attractive for a promoted player. So much for the sporty.

Stripper Jorge Mendes

The upswing of the association from the greater Birmingham area can also be explained by a special – and not entirely uncontroversial – business model. In July 2016, the Wolverhampton Wanderers were taken over by a Chinese investor conglomerate called Fosun. The takeover took place at a time when the Chinese government was pushing the expansion of the country in international football and other English clubs such as Aston Villa or West Bromwich Albion were also partly or completely bought by the Chinese.

Fosun maintains good contacts with Jorge Mendes from Portugal, who is known as a “super agent” and advisor to Cristiano Ronaldo, United coach Mourinho and James Rodríguez from FC Bayern, among others. He advised the Chinese company on the purchase of the club and has played an important role in the Wolves since then. However, it is not entirely clear which.

Officially, he is still only active in an advisory capacity, but his influence is hard to overlook. A Portuguese revolution is underway at the club. Coach Espírito Santo, who won the 2004 Champions League with FC Porto as second goalkeeper and has been in Wolverhampton since last year, was Mendes’ first client ever and is still represented by him today.

According to Transfermarkt.de, six Wolverhampton professionals are being looked after by Mendes’ Gestifute agency. They all come from Portugal, including goalkeeper Rui Patrício, playmakers João Moutinho and Rúben Neves, and left-winger Diogo Jota, the towering man in the promotion season.

Are the Wolves breaking the rules?

Second division rivals such as Leeds United have complained in the past season that the Wolves would gain an inadmissible competitive advantage through their contacts with Mendes, but the league did not find any breaches of the rules, as the adviser had no office in the club.

The club had already denied the agent’s unauthorised influence when it hired trainer Espírito Santo, who by the way was the successor to former Dortmund professional Paul Lambert. “Jorge Mendes is not responsible for our personnel policy. It can’t be him. That is against the rules,” said Managing Director Laurie Dalrymple. Nothing has changed in this view.

The fans have no reservations either. They are happy about the good sporting development of the club and don’t want the joy to be spoiled. “Mendes is even considered a bit of a hero because he helped bring back the good times,” says Thomas Baugh, operator of the Wolves Blog.

Baugh doesn’t see a problem with being close to the consultant and asks a rhetorical question: “If the league and the federation can’t find any misconduct, it doesn’t look like they’re breaking any rules. Then why should we worry?” As long as things continue to go as well as they’ve done, nobody in the Wolves camp is likely to question Mendes’s role. Jackpot Paradise is high-quality casino with a huge variety of games.