The new season of Club Football kicked off yesterday with Premier League & Ligue 1 matches .
Liverpool started their campaign with a 4-1 win over Norwich City. Olympique Lyonnais won 3-0 against AS Monaco.
Mo Salah and Van Dijk scored their first goals of the season for Liverpool & AS Monaco were reduced to 10 men , courtesy a controversial VAR referred red card to their playmaker Cesc Fabregas.
It was not long back that Mo Salah was part of the Chelsea FC squad. He later on played for Fiorentina and Roma on loan , before making a permanent move to Roma. 2017 season saw the Egyptian moving to Liverpool FC and he has not looked back after that as he is too busy scoring goals from all angles.
Van Dijk was one of the costliest defenders signed by a Premier League side & a strong contender for the coveted Ballon d’or this year.
Cesc Fabregas, the midfielder who is considered as an expert in breaking open the opponent defense, joined AS Monaco last season.
Mo Salah, Van Dijk, Fabregas and hundreds of other footballers keep moving from one club to another during their career. So who orchastrate their moves ?
Ramy Abbas is the advisor of Liverpool’s Egyptian goal scoring machine, Mo Salah.
The name that connects Van Dijk & Henderson is Neil Fewings, the agent who represents one of the biggest US sporting agency Wasserman. He manages both of these players & it has been touted that Henderson played an essential role in completing the move of Van Dijk to LFC.
Arsenal fans will always cherish the days when Thiery Henry & Fabregas played together for them. One of the key reasons behind Cesc’s move to Monaco was his preference to play under Thiery Henry, his good old Arsenal team mate. This was made easier by his agent Darren Dein, with whom he has been working from his Arsenal days. Darren Dein is the agent of Henry as well. So the move happened without any hassles.
The movers and shakers of Football transfers : ‘Agents’ – who work smartly & tirelessly behind the scenes.
Europe league football is dominated by the likes of FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Inter Milan, Napoli, Paris Saint Germain,Ajax FC, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea FC and handful of other clubs. Similar to that the ‘Agents’ market is a stronghold of names who are synonymous to big player signings.
Jorge Mendes is the richest Sporting agent in the Soccer arena. The Portuguese agent who started his career as a DJ and a bar owner, quickly moved up in ranks when it came to the transfer market of football players.
Gestifute , Sports Career Management Company, is a brain child of Jorge Mendes. Mendes has a list of elite players and coaches signed up with him. He was instrumental in helping Jose Mourinho’s move to Chelsea in 2004. This was followed by a bunch of players from Portugal moving to Chelsea FC.
The ‘super agent’ Mendes also handles the super player Christiano Ronaldo. His move to Manchester United, Real Madrid & Juventus was all managed by Mendes. Mendes & Gestifute would have made millions of dollars from these deals. Diego Costa, James Rodriguez, De Gea and the upcoming football star Joao Felix are clients of Jorge Mendes.
Jorge Mendes knows the importance of tapping the future potential. That is how he has managed to scale these heights. Every young upcoming football player from Portugal is in his radar. He almost single handedly dominate the Portugese football players and coaches. Apart from the above mentioned high value players and coaches, his recent stint with the newly promoted team, Wolverhampton Wanderers, to the Premier League shows his prowess. Wolverhampton is now part of China’s Fosun International Group. Guo Guangchang is the business man who owns Fosun Group. Mendes has helped in getting key players for this club & in addition to this the manager of Wolverhampton , Nuno Santo, is from Portugal. Thus it attracts the players from Portugal to be part of Wolves FC.
Guangchang & Mendes have signed an agreement to tap the potential of football in China. This is a great move by Mendes to make his presence felt in this part of the globe which is supposed to be one of the upcoming world football destination.
Mino Raoila is the name which every Manchester United fan will have known by now. Mino Raoila is the agent who manages Paul Pogba. Raoila started as a waiter and moved his ways into becoming one of the most successful Sports agents in Europe.
The players associated with him includes Mkhitaryan & the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mino Raoila believes in hard work. He is of the opinion that as a footballer you should have the passion and dedication to put in that extra effort to stand apart from other players. Raoila , compared to other agents , has a limited set of players with him. He is a person who takes the professional relationship to a very cordial and friendly one with each of his clients & bargains the best possible deal for them. As a person who has managed restaurant, he knows the value of each customer.
Fernando Felicevich is the one who controls majority of the key South American players. Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Bravo, Charles Aranguiz are all managed by this FF agent.
Volker Struth, the Executive Director of Sports Total, is the powerhouse of German players. Toni Kroos, Marco Reus, Niklas Stark are few of the players managed by this go to agent of Bundesliga.
When it comes to Spanish players – Adrian Miguel, Pedro, Kepa, Navas ; the agent who stands right next to them is Jose Otin. He is considered as the key influencer in the La liga circuit and is also the man behind Bahia Internacional, the sports management company.
The agent who is known as the premier league specialist is Jonathan Barnet. He along with his partner David Manasseh has made their presence felt in the Premier League. Interestingly the first client of Jonathan Barnet was Brian Lara & his list also includes the retired boxing champion Lennox Lewis. Barnet is known in the Football World for his role in facilitating the transfer of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid. It was considered as one of the costliest signing of that time. The other players linked to him are Jordan Pickford, Luke Shaw, Joe Hart, Jessie Lingard. He is also the man behind the controversial move of Ashley Cole from Arsenal FC to Chelsea FC.
Jonathan Barnet & David Manasseh started a company known as Stellar Group Limited in 1994 which oversees all these movements. They are now one of the leading Sports consulting companies ranging from Football, Rugby, NFL, Cricket to Athletics. Barnet has a strong team which helps him scout new young talented players and they focus on investing , training & developing talent.
Team Wass / Wasserman Media Group is one of the most prominent Sports Management Companies based out of the United States of America. The talent managed by them are from an array of sporting fields – Baseball, Golf, Basketball, American Football, Soccer, Hockey & Action Sports.
The World Cup winning team of USA was mostly represented by players managed by Wasserman.
Van Dijk & Henderson are also part of Team Wass talent management. Wasserman Media Group lead by Casey Wasserman is slowly and steadily making their presence felt in the European Football Leagues. They consider the management of each player as a case study and makes sure that it always ends up on the positive side.
Though each of them have their own working style, one thing in common to all the agents & sports management companies is that they are always in the look out to identify young talent , calculate the possible potential & create a Win Win situation for the player and themselves.
In addition to the above mentioned agents and sports consulting companies there are some players who feel that it is always good to have everything in the family itself.
Neymar Jr , who holds the record for the highest transfer fee of €222 million is managed by his dad Neymar Sr. As per reports, Neymar Sr , who acts as the agent for his son, would have made approximately €40 million from that record transfer deal between Paris Saint Germain & FC Barcelona. In addition to this Neymar Sr has accumulated lots of money by overseeing his son’s transfers and new deals along the years.
Lionel Messi , the quintessential name many associate with football, takes help of his dad to manage the business side of football. Messi’s current contract clause of €300 million looks like a lot of money. In case one of the big clubs is ready to buy out then Messi’s dad will make a good deal of money, somewhere close to €60 million.
There are some young footballers like Callum Hudson Odoi who also takes the service of his dad to play the role of his agent.
The clubs always want to sign the best players in the world, players want to move to the leading clubs and behind all these are the actual Movers & Shakers of Football transfers : The Agents. There are players who have changed their agents to make sure that they get better deals & clubs. Lot depends on the contacts developed by these agents / sports management companies on how and where the movement happens, which also helps in the making or breaking of many players.
I would like to see a tournament represented by players for their agents. Jorge Mendes XI, Mino Raoila XI, Jonathan Barnet XI, Jose Otin XI , etc. It will be a super contest for sure.
Considering that there is lot of money talks happening in the Chinese Super League & Major League Soccer, the demand for all these agents & sports management companies will be on a steady rise.
But with the onset of technology, it is just a matter of time before we see an Artificial Intelligence enabled Robot acting as the agent for players. Until then it is game on between these ‘behind the scenes’ specialists who compete against each other to get the best deals for their players and ultimately themselves.
“Coaches and players together make a great team; but Agents write the script of this success journey of football”