Date: 24th July 2019 at 11:32am
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The Correio de Manha is reporting that Portuguese wonder-kid Rafael Leao has recently signed with super-agent Jorge Mendes’ agency Gestifute in an attempt to facilitate a big-money move away from Ligue 1.

The relationship between Mendes and Wolves’ owners the Fosun Conglomerate has been most prevalent in recent years, with many of Mendes’ clients moving to Molineux. His clients at the Black Country club include Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota as well as manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

The Portuguese agent’s influence on Wolves has led to a lot of controversy, with Leeds United, Aston Villa and Derby previously calling for the EFL to investigate his role at the club.

Fosun had previous dealings with Mendes prior to their £30m takeover of Wolves in 2016, as they bought shares (through a subsidiary) in Mendes’ Gestifute agency.

With Wolves being interested in Lille’s Leao, it could see the club look towards their “advisor” to add the striker to their already large Portuguese contingent.

Leao joined Lille from Sporting Lisbon one year ago, following the horrific training ground attack on the players by fans of the club.

Since then he has bagged eight goals and two assists in 26 appearances for Les Dogues, which has seen him earn five caps for the Portuguese under-21 national team.

Aston Villa and Everton have previously been interested in the 20-year-old, but it has been reported that Valencia have already bid €35m for the player.

With Wolves currently struggling for depth at the centre forward spot, relying on Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota to lead the line, Leao would be a perfect rotation option.

At 6ft one Leao would offer a straight swap for the Mexican hitman, instead of making Santo change his 3-4-3 system to compensate for the 5ft eight Jota – like he had to during this summer’s pre-season.

I would suggest that Leao is utilised as a rotation option for Jimenez, as he is yet to reach his peak while Jimenez was scoring for fun in the league last season.

Jimenez averages 2.9 shots per game for Wolves, whereas Leao only averages 1.5 which suggests the Mexican finds himself in more positions to have a go at goal.

The Gold Cup Golden Ball winner has more of a creative output too, as well as having more than double the amount of assists than the Portuguese forward, he averages 1.1 key passes per game in comparison to Leao’s 0.5.

With Leao and Jota both being under 23, it could see the pair banging in goals in the famous Amber for the next decade. While €35m would be a large outlay for Wolves, it would be worth it for someone who has been dubbed “a possible successor to Ronaldo”.

 

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