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Wolverhampton Wanderers: the Portuguese colony of the Premier League

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By far one of the most colorful football sides in the English Premier League in recent years, Wolverhampton are a very good team that has also gathered attention by the large cast of Portuguese players that they have. But despite a lot of people being aware of that, not a lot of football fans know why that is the case, so today we’re going to explain that.

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the number of Portuguese players in Wolverhampton Wanderers, something that has not been considered a problem due to the good performances that the club has had in recent times, but rather it has been seen as something anecdotal or even funny, as it has been used for a lot of memes on the internet. However, the reason why there is a large Portuguese community in the Wolves squad is not so well-known. The club currently has nine players of Portuguese nationality in its first team and three more who are on loan at other clubs in addition to the fact that a large part of the coaching staff is also Portuguese.

The story in question begins in 2016 when the club was still in the Championship and they were bought by Fosun International, a Chinese investment conglomerate that among other investments owns 20% of Gestifute, the company of one of the most important agents (or the most important, perhaps) of European football, Jorge Mendes. As expected, Mendes, being Portuguese, has many Portuguese players in his portfolio, including the superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. That indirect relationship between Wolverhampton and Gestifute through Fosun International is what has facilitated the signings of so many Portuguese players by the English club as well as helping manager Nuno Espirito Santos himself arrive in 2017.

It is a common practice in current football that agents offer their players to clubs in order to coordinate a possible transfer and Gestifute is no exception. In fact, Jorge Mendes has a good relationship with several English Premier League clubs and it’s for this very reason that many of his most important clients play in that league, such as Bernardo Silva, Ederson or Ruben Dias at Manchester City, Fabinho and Diogo Jota (former Wolverhampton player) at Liverpool FC or James Rodríguez at Everton. Obviously, in none of those cases does it reach the level of Wolverhampton but those business relationships have turned out well for Wolves and it has helped with the growth of the institution in recent years.

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