Man Behind Molineux Masterpiece: How An Agent Carried Wolves From Mediocrity To Premier League Greatness

Portuguese football manager Jorge Mendes stands in front of the press during the release of the book "The Special Agent" written by Miguel Cuesta and Jonathan Sanchez in Lisbon on February 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

In terms of the Premier League calendar, we’ve reached a point in football today where a trip to the Molineux Stadium is considered as tricky an away game as any. Three seasons ago around this time, Wolves were a mid-table club in the EFL Championship, and they picked up an almost unthinkable record of 20 defeats all through that campaign. Despite this, something changed after Fosun announced their £45m takeover in the summer of 2016.

Although their first term under the Chinese conglomerate didn’t go quite to plan, they ended up forming an important relationship with one of the biggest names in the world of football business. Jorge Mendes – the Portuguese super-agent who manages the careers of players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabinho and Bernardo Silva, even has a special connection to Fosun.

Portuguese football agent Jorge Mendes poses on arrival for the world premiere of the film Ronaldo in central London on November 9, 2015.
/ AFP / JACK TAYLOR (Photo credit should read JACK TAYLOR/AFP via Getty Images)

How Has Jorge Mendes Affected This Wolves Team’s Progress?

The link between the two isn’t strictly sports either as the Chinese owners of Wolves do possess a minority share in the Portuguese agent’s company ‘Gestifute’. Not just that, it has been suggested that he advised the chiefs at Fosun Group that Wolves would be a smart investment. Due to all this, it perhaps didn’t come as a massive surprise when Wolves announced in the summer of 2017 that Mendes’ first ever client – Nuno Espírito Santo, would be taking over as the first-team head coach at the Molineux.

Despite facing at least a year in the Championship, the team from the Black Country secured the acquisition of star names like Willy Boly and Ruben Neves that summer. Within months of the commencement of that campaign, it became clear that this Wolves team was headed for promotion, and they did it comfortably. Returning to reality, the high-flying Premier League club have eight Portuguese stars under contract at the Molineux, with the likes of Joao Moutinho and more recently Daniel Podence also joining the mix thanks to the excellent work being put in by Mendes.

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Portuguese head coach Nuno Espirito Santo gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on February 14, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Why There’s More Than Enough Reason For Wolves Fans To Stay Excited

When the Fosun group took over the club in 2016, the former club owner Steve Morgan claimed that the Chinese company had promised an investment of around £30m over a two-year tenure. Considering the number that’s actually been spent over the last couple of seasons as well, it’s safe to say that the custodians sitting in the board room are quite happy with what they’re seeing.

Wolves’ most recent days of glory came back in the fifties, and for a club like that to be challenging for a Champions League spot in the Premier League this season wouldn’t have been expected by anyone, let alone the fans. Nuno’s men overcame the difficult challenge of Espanyol in the round of 32 first leg of the Europa League this campaign, and progress in that competition is sure to be of supreme importance to the men in Orange.

The relationship with Mendes has undoubtedly been fruitful for both the parties involved, and qualification to the Champions League would only make the acquisition of top quality players that much easier for Wolves. There’s no denying that this team has come a long way since being sold to Steve Morgan for a nominal fee of £10 in the summer of 2007, and it would be even more ludicrous to say that they could’ve made it this far without the Portuguese negotiator’s influence in the transfer market.

Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.