Leeds Owner Doubts 'Legality' Of Link Between Wolves & Jorge Mendes

Leeds Owner Doubts 'Legality' Of Link Between Wolves & Jorge Mendes

Leeds United are all but destined to spend yet another season outside of English football's top flight. Since the appointment of Paul Heckingbottom in early February, the Yorkshire club have won only one game in six; last night's 3-0 defeat to Wolves making it 6 losses this year alone.

Sitting 9 points shy of the Championship playoff places with 10 games remaining, the six teams separating Leeds from 6th placed Middlesbrough now surely looks too vast a gap to bridge.

Having been comprehensively beaten by Wolves at Elland Road, the United owner Andrea Radrizzani revealed his frustration with the 'unfair' nature of the visitor's ascent this season.


Not quite taking the inflammatory tone that one may have expected of his predecessor, Massimo Cellino, Radrizzani's comments have nonetheless garnered plenty of attention.

Although he does not name Wolves directly, the Leeds owner has made his thoughts clear on the operational changes the Championship leaders have made; most notably with regards recruitment.

Having hired Nuno Espírito Santo last summer, the former Valencia and Porto manager was construed as something of a coup for Wolves. Yet, having been sold to a Chinese consortium in 2016, the connecting figure between Wolves and Santo was the Portuguese super-agent, Jorge Mendes.

A "known associate and friend" of the club's Chinese owner according to a Guardian report on the club's shifting fortunes, it is telling perhaps that Santo remains a client of the man also managing the careers of Jose Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and many, many more.


Being presented with Radrizzani's remarks in the wake of his club's defeat of Leeds United, Santo firmly resisted the notion that Wolves were doing anything wrong:

First of all, I don’t care.

Secondly, what we see on the pitch is a group of hard-working people. My only focus is on the game. To go beyond that, it doesn’t affect us. We don’t care because it has nothing to do with us. We compete fairly and we show when we win, we deserve it.

Having never yet worked for a club at which Mendes did not have strong ties, the frustration expressed by Radrizzani stretches beyond the man directing from the touchlines -  his concerns appear to rest with the man directing operation from the boardroom.

With almost half of the 25 players Wolves have signed in the last 18 months coming from Mendes' own firm, the Leeds owner is not alone in his frustration. According to a Telegraph report, Derby County and Aston Villa have apparently also voiced their dissatisfaction with the arrangement to the FA.

Reports today highlighting that Wolves may face "financial and operational" sanctions after posting a loss of £20 million last season are indicative of their just concerns. Having spent far beyond their means on wages for Mendes' collection of players, salaries have shot up 50% on last season.

Hedging all their bets on the promise of promotion to the Premier league and the riches that will bring, Wolves strangle-hold on top spot in the Championship means they will soon be of little concern to Leeds and any other disgruntled clubs.

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Arthur James O'Dea

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