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03rd Jul 2017

Jorge Mendes client Ruben Neves about to complete strangest move of summer

It is difficult to see how Ruben Neves' move to Wolves can benefit the player

Wayne Farry

At this stage football fans are well aware of the influence of super agent Jorge Mendes, whose stable of clients at agency Gestifute includes the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria and Bernardo Silva.

While adored by the majority of the players he represents, the Portuguese deal maker has been accused by some observers of having an unhealthy influence on both his clients and football clubs across Europe, from Manchester United to Valencia.

One such example is the latest deal involving a Mendes client: Ruben Neves’ move from FC Porto to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The youngest player to start a Champions League game as captain, the 20-year-old Neves had been considered a future superstar when he burst onto the scene at the age of 17.

While his development has stalled somewhat since the days when he was linked with the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, a move to the mid-table of the Championship is both shocking and curious in equal measure.

Who does the deal benefit?

For Wolves – whose manager Nuno Espirito Santo is also a Mendes client – the deal is something of a no-brainer. They get a hugely promising young midfielder who has played at the highest level and who could potentially develop into a world class prospect.

For Mendes the deal works too. He gets his commission and proves to clubs across Europe that if you want a Gestifute player, he can make it happen.

For Neves however, the transfer stinks of a player who is considered little more than a pawn in his agent’s dealings, an agent who sees his clients as a means to increase his power in the game, rather than employers whose best interests he should have at heart.

It is also very difficult to see what a 20-year-old Portugal international can truly gain from moving to the Championship.

That’s not to suggest that he will struggle there, but when your agent chooses to send you to a lower league team with which he has conveniently close links, question marks have to be asked over who the deal works out for.

Perhaps this is all an overreaction, Neves could set the Championship alight this season and become the catalyst for an unlikely Wolves promotion.

If that happens it’ll be a huge surprise though, because Neves –  a young player with too much trust in his agent – appears to be little more than an afterthought in this move.