Wolverhampton Wanderers deny wrongdoing over Ruben Neves transfer

Ruben Neves is set to display his skills in the Premier League next season.
Updated 20 April 2018
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Wolverhampton Wanderers deny wrongdoing over Ruben Neves transfer

  • Neves has been a star man and key to Wolves' promotion to the Premier League.
  • Portugal international moved to Molineux last summer from Porto.

The English Football League has sought documentation from FC Porto as part of an informal investigation into Wolverhampton Wanderers’ summer signing of Portugal international Ruben Neves.
The EFL has received complaints from a number of Championship clubs over the influence of Neves’ representatives Gestifute on a recruitment policy which has helped Wolves secure promotion to the Premier League.
According to a Porto source, the EFL has asked for details of the midfielder’s earnings at the Portuguese club amid reports that the 21-year-old has been on an annual salary of more than £2.3million ($3.2 million) since moving to England last July. Wolves signed Neves for a transfer fee of €16 million ($22.7 million), a record for the club.
Arab News has seen Neves’ contract at Porto and can report that his basic wage there was a modest €12,500 per month after-tax on a four-year deal that ran until 30 June 2019. In sterling terms, the contract — which included a release clause of €40 million — netted Neves just over £2,500 per week, a minimal figure for a full international.
According to a source familiar with the player’s move to Wolves, Neves has been paid “three or four times” his Porto salary by the Midlands club, yet still remains below its £25,000 per week wages ceiling. Neves, who was named this week in the PFA Championship Team of the Year, is on a fraction of the salary paid to the division’s highest earners, including former England captain John Terry at Aston Villa.
Fourth-placed Villa — owned by self-described “dollar billionaire” Tony Xia — are one of the clubs to complain to the EFL. Andrea Radrizzani, owner of 14th-placed Leeds United, is another. The Italian businessman complained on social media complain about Wolves owner Fosun International’s use of Gestifute as advisers on club business, shortly after his team’s 3-0 home loss in March.
“We have our own problems, but we should play in a fair competition,” wrote Radrizzani. “Not legal and fair (to) let one team owned by a fund whom has shares in the biggest players agency with evident benefits top European clubs giving players with options to buy...why the other 23 teams can’t have same treatment? We should play all 24 with the same rules and opportunities (it’s enough to google it). Congratulations to the best team but hope the league can be fair and equal to all 24 teams.”
Gestifute principal Jorge Mendes sold a minority shareholding in the agency to Fosun in 2015. The Chinese conglomerate took over Wolves in July 2016. Mendes recommended the appointment of manager Nuno Espirito Santo last summer, and has worked on deals to bring players such as Neves, Willy Boly, Diogo Jota, Roderick Miranda, Ruben Vinagre, Helder Cost and  Ivan Cavaleiro to the club.
According to a source familiar with the Neves transfer, Porto instructed Gestifute to find a buyer for the midfielder as the Portuguese club needed to raise funds in the transfer market. While Neves was offered to various Premier League and Championship clubs none were prepared to meet Porto’s asking price, regardless of the relatively low wages involved.
“If Wolves have brought in players such as Neves for £15m, he must be being paid as a player worth £15m should be,” complained an official at a rival club last month “It’s the same with others they have brought in from Monaco, Atletico Madrid and Valencia. None of these players would come on the cheap. Something doesn’t add up.”
The EFL told Arab News that it had recently met Wolves at the request of complainant members and was awaiting further correspondence from the club on the matter.
“We are very clear on FA and EFL regulations and always comply with them explicitly,” said Wolves following the recent complaints.
“We welcome any form of communication with the EFL to reiterate our position. We fully anticipate the release of a further EFL statement in support of Wolves and the club’s operations to bring a prompt resolution to this matter.”


Van Dijk backs Salah to shine in Kiev showpiece

Updated 26 May 2018
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Van Dijk backs Salah to shine in Kiev showpiece

  • Virgil van Dijk: He (Mohamed Salah) is a nightmare for defenders, creating and scoring goals.”
  • Van Dijk: “To be calm, that is sometimes a very good thing to have, but personally sometimes I have to learn, too.”

LIVERPOOL: As Mohamed Salah prepares for a career-defining period, Virgil van Dijk is confident his Liverpool teammate’s star will only shine brighter on football’s biggest stages.
The Liverpool frontman will face-off with Ballon d’Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid tonight in the Champions League final before heading off to a debut World Cup with Egypt.
And having witnessed an incredible season that has brought 44 goals — a record 32 in the Premier League ­— for the Egyptian star, Reds defender van Dijk says he has the all-round ability to strike fear into the reigning European champions and international sides.
“He is a nightmare for defenders, creating and scoring goals,” said the Dutchman of the 25-year-old Salah. “It’s complete for him.
“He’s like everyone in our squad, laidback, calm, no big personalities and egos. We work hard for each other and just want to be better.
“I think he can definitely be the best in Europe, but there are two other players who are pretty good at the moment as well (in Ronaldo and Lionel Messi). I hope for Mo it happens because he deserves it. He is that kind of player to light up a World Cup as well.”
While all eyes will be on Salah and Ronaldo as potential match-winners in Kiev, van Dijk, 26, will have a major role on the defensive front.
The game will offer the center-back the chance to prove he was worth the £75 million ($100 million) it cost to sign him from Southampton in January.
“Any player who arrived at this club, they want to play in these games, they want to be under this kind of pressure, they want to get trophies,” he said.
“I don’t think I have been bought to win the Champions League final. I have been bought to hopefully get the best out of myself and the best out of the team with the help of everyone else.
“To be calm, that is sometimes a very good thing to have, but personally sometimes I have to learn, too.
“Against Manchester City in the away game (of the quarter final) I was a little bit too calm in the beginning, for example. That is something I have to learn as well. To be in the final right now, it has been a crazy journey.”
Watching last season’s final between Real and Juventus, van Dijk realized just how much he wanted to be a part of the competition — and why Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were the club for him, despite interest from City.
“I never really go to big games to watch as a fan, but I was in Cardiff,” he recalled. “The sponsors (Sony) hooked us up with two fantastic seats and it was two hours from where I used to live, so we thought, ‘let’s go.’
“From the moment I got there a lot of people in hospitality were Liverpool fans and they were saying, ‘join, please join.’