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.”


Celtics beat Cavs in Game 5, lead NBA Eastern Conference finals 3-2

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum attempts a layup in front of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the third quarter of game five of the Eastern conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 24 May 2018
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Celtics beat Cavs in Game 5, lead NBA Eastern Conference finals 3-2

  • Rookie Jayson Tatum scored 24 points — his ninth 20-point game of the postseason — and the Celtics held LeBron James to two fourth-quarter points.
  • Game 6 is in Cleveland on Friday night, with the decisive seventh game back in Boston on Sunday if necessary.

BOSTON: LeBron James is tired. The young Boston Celtics seem to be getting stronger.
Rookie Jayson Tatum scored 24 points — his ninth 20-point game of the postseason — and Boston beat Cleveland 96-83 on Wednesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics held James to two fourth-quarter points, earning their 10th straight victory in Boston to remain perfect at home this postseason and move within one win of their first trip to the NBA Finals since 2010.
“I just enjoy playing in the big moments, in the big games. That’s when I have the most fun,” said Tatum, who needs one more 20-point game to tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s rookie record of 10 in a postseason.
“I can’t say it enough: We’re one win away from being in the finals,” Tatum said. “The playoffs bring the best out of people.”
Game 6 is in Cleveland on Friday night, with the decisive seventh game back in Boston on Sunday if necessary. The home team has won every game so far in the series, and none has been closer than nine points.
“We’re looking forward to having an opportunity to force a Game 7,” said James, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds but also had six turnovers. “It’s up to us to see if we can come back here for one more.”
Al Horford had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and 21-year-old Jaylen Brown had 17 points for Boston. Tatum added seven rebounds, four assists and four steals one day after finishing a single vote shy of a unanimous selection to the NBA’s All-Rookie team.
“The sky’s the limit” for Tatum , Brown said. “He’s going to continue to get better. He’s my workout partner. I expect it in myself and I expect it in him.”
Kevin Love scored 14 points for the Cavaliers, who are trying to reach the finals for the fourth consecutive season. James has played to the end in seven straight seasons.
To extend that streak, he’ll need to win two in a row.
One of them will be in Boston.
“Our focus — LeBron’s focus — is to win,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “That’s the only thing that matters.”
The Celtics opened a double-digit lead in the first quarter and nursed it the rest of the way, holding on through a four-minute scoring drought that saw Cleveland score nine straight points to cut the deficit to 83-71. But Terry Rozier hit Horford with an alley-oop to snap the skid, and that was as close as the Cavs would get.
Reserves Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart each scored 13.

FADING STAR
James had one basket on four shots in the fourth quarter, and afterward conceded that he was worn down. He finished 1 for 6 from 3-point range in the game; the Cavaliers made just 9 of 34 attempts from beyond the arc and shot just 42 percent overall.
“I had my moments, but I think everybody at this point is tired, worn down whatever the case may be,” he said. “I was still trying to make plays, put our team in position to win.”

GOONING IT UP
Boston went on a 15-3 run in the first quarter to turn a three-point deficit into a nine-point lead. The Celtics scored nine in a row at the end of the first quarter and into the second to take a 36-19 lead, their biggest of the game.
That’s when the Cavaliers fought back .
After a hard defensive play by Morris sent Larry Nance Jr. into the first row of seats, Morris appeared to wander over and say something. Nance to jump up and body checked him; Morris responded with a one-handed shove to the face.
Aron Baynes and Brown came in to break it up, and Terry Rozier put a body on Nance. After a review, the referees called technicals on Rozier, Nance and Morris. Kyle Korver made the foul shot to make it 36-20 and Cleveland went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to eight points, 36-28.
But Morris made a long 3-pointer to stop the scoring drought, and soon hit another to cap an 8-2 run that made it a double-digit lead.
Smart said the Celtics wanted to more aggressive at home.
“At their place, they were the aggressor,” he said. “That showed and they came up with the victory. We just wanted to be that team tonight.”

TIP-INS
Teams that win Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series win 83 percent of the time. ... James had 16 points, four rebounds and three assists at the half. Tatum had 13 points, and Horford had 10 points and seven boards at the break. ... Baynes made his first start of the series, subbing for Morris. ... It took until midway through the third quarter for a Cavs starter other than James or Love to make a basket. J.R. Smith sank a floater to make it 63-50, and George Hill followed with a jumper of his own. ... The Celtics were 10-0 in the playoffs at home in 1986. ... Horford had his 7th double-double of the postseason, matching a career high he set in 2015.