Costa, Di Maria, Falcao, James - why Jorge Mendes was the transfer window's real winner

COMMENT: The Portuguese super-agent oversaw many of the biggest transfers and claimed around €30m from his clients' movements this summer
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer

As deadline day transfer business came to a close on Monday night, Radamel Falcao's late move to Manchester United ensured one last lucrative deal for football's most powerful agent. Jorge Mendes had done it again.

While some clubs will be happy with their business during the window and others will have wanted more, Mendes was the window's biggest beneficiary as he masterminded several of the summer's most expensive transfers.

A frustrated footballer who worked as a DJ, then owned a video shop and a nightclub outside Lisbon, Mendes started selling advertising space on pitchside hoardings at small Portuguese clubs and eventually struck up a relationship with Nuno, now coach at Valencia. The goalkeeper's move to Spain in 1997 saw Mendes involved in a transfer for the first time. But since then, deals involving his players have totalled more than a billion euros.

Mendes manages Jose Mourinho and his relationship with the Chelsea coach saw a number of players represented by the agent's GestiFute firm (Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Maniche and Tiago) move to Stamford Bridge in his first spell. Likewise at Real Madrid (where Angel Di Maria, Fabio Coentrao and Carvalho came in to join other Mendes clients Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe during the Mourinho era).

Mendes was heavily involved again in Monaco's spending spree last summer, as Falcao, James Rodriguez, Moutinho and Carvalho all joined the Riviera side.

This summer, however, Mendes has done arguably his best business. The Portuguese oversaw James' move from Monaco to Madrid for €80m, took a 10 per cent cut as Di Maria left Real for Manchester United at around €75m and also made significant funds as Diego Costa joined Chelsea for €35m and Eliaquim Mangala was sold by Porto to Manchester City for a fee of approximately €53m (third-party involvement meant the Portuguese side were paid €30.5m for a percentage of his playng rights). Another of his clients, Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay, joined Zenit from Benfica for around €15m.

Then, as the transfer window was drawing to a close, Mendes negotiated with several clubs over Falcao. The agent had hoped to position the striker at Real Madrid, but there was more interest from the player than the club and president Florentino Perez grew tired of the agent's constant calls, telling colleagues behind the scenes: "If I bring in Falcao, I'd have to make Mendes president!"

In the end, Falcao moved to United, initially on a lucrative loan arrangement worth around €10m. So although the 48-year-old didn't get his wish for Falcao to move to Madrid, he still got his money. And in total, the agent claimed close to €30m from his clients' movements over the summer. As usual, Mendes was the window's real winner.

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