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.”


Djokovic wins Cincinnati title to complete Masters matched set

Updated 20 August 2018
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Djokovic wins Cincinnati title to complete Masters matched set

  • Novak Djokovic finally lifted the Cincinnati trophy after five prior Cincinnati finals losses
  • Roger Federer, meanwhile, lost a final in the hardcourt US Open tuneup for the first time

CINCINNATI: Novak Djokovic ended a career-long jinx, lifting the trophy in Cincinnati at last to complete a matched set of Masters 1000 titles.
Djokovic, who came up empty in five prior Cincinnati finals, defeated seven-time winner Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 in the final.
The former world number one became the first man to win all nine of the ATP’s Masters 1000 events in the elite series’ current configuration.
Federer, meanwhile, lost a final in the hardcourt US Open tuneup for the first time.
“I played five finals (here) before, and most of those finals I lost to this great man, Roger ... thank you for letting me win here once in Cincinnati,” Djokovic joked.
“This is a dream come true,” Djokovic said. “I finally won Cincinnati after six finals, some against the greatest ever, Roger.”
Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam winner, said his game wasn’t sharp — but he didn’t want to take anything away from Djokovic’s achievement.
“Novak is a great champion,” Federer said. “This is about him making history.”
Federer’s streak of 100 straight unbroken service games in Cincy was ended by Djokovic in the seventh game of the first set.
The 37-year-old Swiss had been aiming for a 99th career trophy, but was unable to get over the line due in part to four double-faults at the most inopportune of times, but he said his return game was also lacking.
“It was definitely not my best day on the return — it was just awful,” Federer said. “Missing every second serve on the forehand side, I don’t know what that was about.
“But I don’t even want to look for reasons why it happened,” he added. “Novak totally deserved to win today. This (effort) was not good enough.
“Good week, but I’m happy it’s over and I need to rest,” added Federer, his eye on the US Open starting in New York in eight days.
Djokovic claimed the opening set in 37 minutes and came back from an early break in the second to overhaul his longtime rival as they played for the 46th time.
The Serb now leads Federer 24-22 and has won their last three encounters.
The pair had not played since the 2016 Australian Open semifinals more than two and a half years ago.
Wimbledon champion Djokovic claimed his Masters record on his first match point and now heads to the US Open as a title favorite after a string of sub-par seasons and an elbow injury which required surgery.
“It’s a wonderful feeling. it’s been a couple of tough months for me with an injury and then winning Wimbledon and Cincinnati,” Djokovic said.
Federer started the match with three aces in the opening game, then added a pair of love games for a 3-2 lead.
But it began to unravel as the Swiss double-faulted to yield a break point, dropping serve as Djokovic moved ahead 4-3.
Djokovic took advantage for a 5-3 lead and closed out the set after 37 minutes.
Federer broke for a 2-0 lead in the second set but gave the break back immediately as he double faulted to give Djokovic a break point which the Serb promptly converted.
Djokovic broke again to lead 4-3, and after Federer held to close the gap to 4-5 Djokovic ended the afternoon in the next game on his first match point.