Football

The unstoppable rise of Wolves – How Jorge Mendes can put the West Midlands club in Premier League’s elite

One special thing about the species of wolves is that they live and hunt in packs. Wolves develop a close relationship and strong social bonds. They have a highly organized social structure enabling them to enjoy maximum cooperation when hunting, communicating and defending territory.

The case of Wolves football club is no different.

From the brink of near extinction into lower leagues, they rose to mark their entry into Premier League in a spectacular fashion. ‘Pack is Back’ is a chant sung by the Wolves faithful which resonates that the sleeping giants are back. Wolves are back and they are here to stay.

From falling into Football League One to securing a draw against the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United in Premier League, the story of Wolves FC in the last 5 years or so tells you how uncertain football can be at times.

The magical Portuguese duo of Jorge Mendes and Nuno Espirito Santo – How Fosun changed the dynamics of Wolves

Fosun International is changing the club dynamics
Fosun International is changing the club dynamics

Fosun International, a Chinese conglomerate, bought Wolves from Steve Morgan for a sum of £45 million. The Chinese owners then got in touch with their friend Jorge Mendes who happens to be an agent of many footballers and managers including Cristiano Ronaldo. They wanted to reshape the club.

Mendes holds power and influence at a number of clubs. Valencia, Monaco, Atletico Madrid, Deportivo, Benfica, Sporting, Porto, and Nottingham Forest to name a few. The list goes on. Termed as a ‘superagent’, they call him the most influential football agent for a reason.

Wolves had a dismal 2016-17 season. A season to forget. The top management wanted to change at the club’s helm. Mendes tried persuading Nuno Espirito Santo to come to Molineux who was managing Valencia at that time. This was all done under the table. Nuno came.

Wolves signed Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves for a Championship record fee of £15.8m in 2017. Neves paid the dividends right after joining the club. Jota, another Portuguese winger, joined the club. Mendes was building a Portuguese base at Wolves.

There was a new breath of fresh air in the West Midlands. There was a newly born optimism.

The top management wanted change at the club's helm.
The top management wanted a proven winner at Wolves’ helm.

The owners brought the money. The football agent delivered. The players alongside the manager delivered on the pitch winning the Championship. There were the 1950s giants back in Premier League with a bang.

Ruben Neves was awarded EFL Player of the Year. Diogo Jota was the highest goalscorer for Wolves with 18 goals in 2017-18 season. The Portuguese men had shown their wizardry on the pitch.

This was a classic example of what Jorge Mendes does and what he does best.

Return to Premier League

Wolves have been unbeaten since Gameweek 2
Wolves have been unbeaten since Gameweek 2

Wolves ripped the oppositions apart in Championship. The question was – Will they be able to replicate half of their Championship success in Premier League? The first test was the summer transfer window and Wolves aced this test with the help of Jorge Mendes. Who else?

Mendes helped the club in signing the likes of Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho. They also signed Raul Jimenez and Jonny on a season-long loan from Benfica and Atletico Madrid respectively. They made a real statement with the signings.

Wolves drew against Everton in their opening game of the season. The next game was Leicester away which resulted in a Wolves defeat. Two games had passed and Wolves found themselves without a win.

The next game was against reigning champions Manchester City. A team that drew 4 times and lost just twice in the 2017-18 season.

Wolves scruffed out a draw against Manchester City and from there on began their dream run. They have been on an undefeated run since Gameweek 2. Wins against Burnley, West Ham United, Southampton and recently against Crystal Palace have put them on 7th position. In the meantime, they also drew against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The free-flowing football that Wolves play is a real eye pleaser. The success that Wolves are currently tasting is down to a proper structure at the club. This is no fairytale like Leicester’s 2015-16 season. This is a case of measured success. The success that’s going to flow freely just like Wolves style of play. A success that lasts much longer.

Fosun’s huge ambitions

With the massive backing of Chinese owners and Jorge Mendes's influence, Wolves can deliver a lot of success
With the massive backing of Chinese owners and Jorge Mendes’s influence, Wolves can deliver a lot of success

In an interview, Wolves chairman Jeff Shi said – “I do hope we can be the top club in the world. But it’s not so useful to talk too much about that now. It’s step by step. If you ask me the long-term goal, of course, we want to be as good as Man City, even better than them in future.”

“We know how much Man City have invested into their squads and personally I don’t think if you give me 10 years or 30 years, it’s not impossible to match.’

60 years is a long long time. That’s when Wolves last won the league title. The process of reinstating the lost glory is already underway. The process is slow and full of impediments, however, Jorge Mendes is working tirelessly in tandem with Fosun to put the West Midlands club into Premier League’s elite again.

Two things are at the core of long-lasting success in football these days – Willingness to invest heavily and a proper system in place. With the massive backing of Chinese owners and Jorge Mendes’s influence, Wolves can deliver a lot of success and relive their long-lost glory days back.

Ask Manchester City.

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