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.”


Asian Cup heartbreak for Jordan as Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Green Falcons chase glory against Japan

Updated 20 January 2019
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Asian Cup heartbreak for Jordan as Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Green Falcons chase glory against Japan

  • After extra-time finished at 1-1, BT Dung rolled in the decisive spot-kick for a 4-2 shootout win for Vietnam
  • The dramatic win will definitely be considered an upset after Jordan were the first to qualify for the knockout stages

DUBAI: It was Asian Cup agony for Jordan on Sunday after Vietnam emerged victorious from a penalty shoot out to become the first team to reach the quarterfinals — after being the last side to scrape into the round of 16.
After extra-time finished at 1-1, BT Dung rolled in the decisive spot-kick for a 4-2 shootout win and saluted the crowd after Baha Faisal and Ahmed Samir had missed for Jordan.
The dramatic win will definitely be considered an upset after Jordan were the first to qualify for the knockout stages, and Vietnam only went through because of their disciplinary record after they finished with an identical points and goals record to Lebanon.
However, the south-east Asian champions came back from a goal down to force extra time, and they were, on balance, the stronger and more positive team over the 120 minutes of play.
Vital Borkelmans’ Jordan came into the game as the form side and they spurned a number of chances before opening the scoring six minutes from half-time.
Baha Abdel-Rahman, taking a free kick from the right edge of the penalty area, hit it just right as the ball bent around the wall and flew into the top corner.
However, the goal stung Vietnam into action and they nearly hit back when Hung Dung’s dipping shot was tipped over by Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi.
Vietnam, who won the Suzuki Cup in December, levelled six minutes after the break, when Cong Phuong showed great technique to steer home a volley from close range.
On the hour-mark, Van Duc nearly snatched it for the Vietnamese but his dink over Shafi was hacked off the line by Anas Bani-Yaseen.
And Jordan’s Yaseen Bakheet had a great chance to grab the win in the first period of extra time, but from a high ball into the box he ballooned his volley over.
One could cut the tension in Dubai’s Al-Maktoum Stadium with a knife as the spot-kicks got underway and when Faisal hit the bar and Van Lam saved from Salih, Vietnam were very much in the driving seat.
Shafi, diving low, saved Minh Vuong’s attempt but it was only delaying defeat as Dung coolly netted the winner, giving a military salute in celebration before being mobbed by his team-mates.
Just 20 kilometers to the east, Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Saudi Arabia were adding the finishing touches to their preparations for the huge round of 16 clash with Japan in Sharjah, which kicks off today.
And the Argentine coach was in confident mood, despite the “Samurai Blue” being one of the favorites for the the title.
“We have great ambition, we are facing a main candidate for winning (the tournament), our confidence is in our team and we came into the tournament knowing it would be tough,” he said on Sunday.
“All of our players are ready, injury-free and available for the game.”
When asked about the defeat to Qatar in the last game, Pizzi said his Green Falcons side were using it as an opportunity to learn for their “do-or-die” clash with Japan.
“If we lose (on Sunday) then we go home, we know that.
“I have followed the Japanese team in the past few matches, and consider them as one of the best teams.
“They are among one of the most consistent and 10 out of 11 (first-team) players play abroad. I consider them as strong candidates to win, but I also trust my players abilities,” he said.
As has been his wont throughout the Asian Cup, Pizzi was keen to dedicate Saudi Arabia’s progress in the tournament to the fans.
“I know the history of the two teams, especially in World Cup qualification, and I am also aware of the joy of Saudi people when we qualified.
“You have to focus on what’s in front of you as all matches are different. We are highly committed toward our fans and we will play in the best manner to win because our fans deserve the best,” he added.