This is a question I am often asked, especially after observing the Portuguese slant on the Wolves squad. I have a theory: Portuguese players aren’t always as good as their English counterparts. That’s why, as a former player, I often questioned why the Portuguese were attracted to Wolves. Apparently, there is a lot of risk involved with bringing Portuguese players to the Premier League.
Wolves have a heavily Portuguese-influenced squad
It’s no secret that Wolves have a heavily Portuguese-influenced team. Manager Nuno and owners both favored Portuguese players, and it’s no surprise that the squad resembled that country’s national team. In fact, Wolves’ XI was dominated by overseas players. The Mendes factor was also a talking point, as the club’s owner and head coach were happy to talk about their friend. However, when other clubs complained, the EFL kept a close eye on it.
The Portuguese influence on the squad is clear in the way they approach football. Wolves’ players were reportedly frequenters of nightclubs and bars. However, their supporters were less likely to drink alcohol. Wolves’ Portuguese players have a strong culture of teamwork, and they are polite. Wolves have a Portuguese-influenced squad, and they have a clear tactical shape. Wolves’ players have a clear style of play, and they’re renowned for keeping clean sheets.
The Portuguese influence is noticeable but it isn’t overbearing. The club’s third kit, worn by the Portuguese national team, has Portuguese-influenced artwork. In fact, Wolves’ Portuguese-influenced players outnumber the English trio of Conor Coady, John Ruddy and Morgan Gibbs-White. In a season of international football, this Portuguese influence can be hard to miss.
Diego Costa was the first Portuguese player to play in the Championship, signing on loan from Benfica. Costa scored twelve goals in his debut season and convinced Manchester City to activate a PS13m clause to sign him. However, an ankle injury limited his involvement last season. Meanwhile, fellow Portuguese player Diego Cavaleiro had a difficult first season in England after his transfer from Monaco. However, he provided a powerful outlet in the wing and scored nine goals in his debut season.
After the takeover, the Portuguese influence was also apparent in the recruitment process. Fosun signed 12 players, with Ivan Cavaleiro and Joao Teixeira both being client-players of the manager’s agent, Jorge Mendes. This helped the newcomers to settle in and hit the ground running. Nuno also believed in his new players’ potential. In the end, a Portuguese-inspired squad is one that will win trophies.
Jorge Mendes has been instrumental in bringing in the players
Portugal have a rich football history, and one of the most popular Portuguese footballers is David Silva, who has signed for Wolves. Mendes has been credited with bringing quality players to the club. While Leo Bonatini has been the club’s leading striker, Silva could replace him as the first choice. He is a player who will be able to compete with the best in the Premier League.
A key player Mendes has brought to Manchester United is Cristiano Ronaldo, who signed for Manchester United in 2001. He has also been influential in bringing Ricardo Quaresma to Barcelona. The manager of Sporting has been involved in a lot of Portuguese players’ careers, including Fernando Santos and Bruno Gama. But what he’s most proud of is his reputation for bringing in the best players for his clubs.
Wolves’ relationship with Jorge Mendes is strong. He helped them reach Premier League status and will rely on him again to maintain that status. Last season, he brought in Portuguese players Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota, and this season, it looks as though more will follow. It’s hard to imagine any club being so well-supported without the help of an influential agent.
A businessman by profession, Mendes’ work in football has helped him earn a small fortune as an agent. He brokered Nuno Espirito Santo’s move to Deportivo. His presence at various football schools in Portugal has led him to attract the best young talent, including Cristiano Ronaldo. Cristiano Ronaldo then signed with Manchester United and soon after, Mendes was in the public spotlight.
During his time at Wolves, Mendes has brought in nine Portuguese players. During his time with the club, Wolves had five Portuguese players, but now have nine. Joao Cancelo and Pedro Neto have made Wolves’ season, and both have scored as many Premier League goals as they did in 29 games last season. Mendes’ relationship with Wolves has also helped him land huge deals for Nelson Semedo, Rui Patricio, and Vitinha.
It involves risk
Wolves have nine Portuguese players, which is not an uncommon amount for English football clubs. Some of the notable names that have played for Wolves include Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves, Jao Moutinho, Nelson Semedo, Miranda, Vitinha, Fabrizio Silva, and Nuno Espiritio Santo. But why do Wolves risk signing such players?
As a result, it is difficult to trust Nuno Espirito Santo’s judgment if he leaves. Wolves would have to search for a replacement. That would mean having to follow Nuno, Bruno Lage, and Vitor Pereira, all of whom have little experience in Premier League management. This could be a risky situation. In such a situation, Wolves would be well advised to keep a close eye on the Portuguese players available for transfer.
As a result, the club may opt for a more versatile player. For example, a right back like Diogo Dalot is a great option. He can play both left and right flanks. A left wing-back like QPR’s Ryan Manning is another player that Wolves could consider. Andre Silva would keep the Portuguese theme in the team, but he is a significant risk given the demands of the Premier League.
Another centre-back option is Gabriel Magalhaes, who has been linked with Everton and is on Wolves’ shortlist. Although he has been hampered by an ankle injury in the last season, he was a key member of the squad in his debut season. With the club’s third centre-back formation, Wolves will need two wing-backs, which means that he will have to play both centrally and on the wing. More quality in this position is always a plus.