If French international centre-back Eliaquim Mangala wasn’t generating enough transfer speculation before now, the £40m-rated 22-year-old’s decision to hire Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes should keep his name in the back pages this season.
Chelsea’s chances of signing the Porto stopper – who is being touted as a long term replacement for John Terry – look to have been given a boost as Mendes also handles manager Jose Mourinho’s contracts, but Manchester United are also thought to be in for the defender and are well used to negotiating with the super agent.
Every Portuguese player Mourinho signed for Chelsea in his first spell at the club was represented by Mendes.
Former Stamford Bridge stalwarts Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferrera and Tiago were all part of the failed footballer’s stable before they followed former Porto boss Mourinho to the Premier League in 2004.
Hilario and Maniche followed over the next couple of years and after returning to the Chelsea hotseat in the summer, the Portuguese was thought to be in for Mendes gem Radamel Falcao before Monaco’s tax-free wages tempted the Colombian to Ligue 1.
Mendes has overseen all of Mourinho’s managerial moves since he left Porto and also facilitated former Blues coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s short stay in west London.
Liverpool fans may be disappointed (or not) to hear that the current Blues boss was being lined up for a move to Anfield by his old agent, before Mendes got Chelsea involved and the Portuguese pals have hopped from Inter Milan to Real Madrid and back to the Premier League in tandem since he last left.
Chelsea’s relationship with the 47-year-old goes beyond his ties to the Special One as Mendes helped to broker then Portugal coach Scolari’s move to the Premier League after Euro 2008.
Right-back Jose Bosingwa and midfielders Deco and Raul Meireles also their found their way to the King’s Road during Mourinho’s six-season hiatus from the club thanks to Mendes’ guiding hand.
However, the agent’s links with United has seen five of his players sign for the Red Devils in the last decade.
The Old Trafford hierarchy have never been afraid to go toe to toe with other top clubs for a Mendes player and the agent’s close relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson and his former number two Carlos Queiroz – who is a client – ensured United’s moves for Nani, Anderson, Bebe, David de Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo were ultimately successful.
Should Mangala end up at the champions David Moyes will be hoping he turns out to be as successful as the Real Madrid phenomenon as opposed to shocking disappointment Bebe, who Ferguson admitted he had never seen play before signing him for €9m in 2010.