Nottingham Forest raised eyebrows in the last couple of weeks with the double signing of young Benfica duo, Joao Carvalho and Diogo Goncalves.
Carvalho cost the Reds a reported £15m while Goncalves signed on a long-term loan deal. And in the last few days, Forest also completed another loan deal for talented young Monaco winger, Gil Dias.
If you’re getting a real Portuguese flavour off these transfer dealings, you’d be correct. And the link is the world’s most well-known and connected football agent, Jorge Mendes.
While no official partnership was announced, it’s understood the Lisbon-based super agent is working with Forest on their transfer strategy.
And why not? It’s not against any rules. And it certainly served Wolverhampton Wanderers remarkably well over the last two years or so.
With Mendes at the helm of their transfer business, the Black Country club brought in a host of talent. Ruben Neves signed for £15m from Porto. Diogo Jota signed on loan from Atletico Madrid. Ivan Cavaleiro signed from Monaco.
The signings, complemented by the arrival of top coach Nuno Espirito Santo last summer, saw a carefully constructed plan come to fruition. After an initial season of disappointment, Wolves took the Championship by storm in 2017-18.
Espirito Santo and his charges eased to the Championship title and the promised land of Premier League football. And they did so playing some wonderful football.
Now Forest are hoping to get in on a similar slice of the action. Mendes’ stable of clients includes the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa, Manchester City’s Ederson, and James Rodriguez.
He was also the former agent of Forest’s current head coach, Aitor Karanka. Mendes and Karanka reportedly still maintain an excellent relationship. And that is thought to be one of the reasons why the relationship has come to pass.
Karanka is an excellent coach in his own right and already has a promotion under his belt with Middlesbrough. But the additions of Carvalho, Goncalves, and now Dias, will have delighted Forest fans.
Dias – who spent last season on loan at Fiorentina – is valued at around £17m by his parent club, Monaco. And it’s rumoured the Reds have a deal in place to sign the 21-year-old permanently should they win promotion.
Forest are currently joint-sixth favourites at 12/1 to win the 2018-19 Championship. And those odds may drop throughout the summer as Mendes goes to work on bringing more top talent to the East Midlands outfit.
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