Fiorentina and Gennaro Gattuso divorced after 22 days of marriage, setting a new Viola record for briefness of tenure and sending the club back into the hiring fray, where Claudio Ranieri and Paulo Fonseca seem to be the frontrunners to take over now. The real talking point, though, seems to be that Fiorentina have just barely wiggled out of the grasp of Jorge Mendes.
This wouldn’t have been the first time the club was in thrall to a big-time agent, as Fali Ramadani funneled talent through Tuscany for years under Pantaleo Corvino. That, of course, also ended on a pretty sour note, but such is the cost of doing business in the modern world. Clubs have to be prepared to enter into business relationships that don’t have any precedent in sporting history and that traipse through legal grey areas.
Mendes, though, is a step beyond. He’s been perhaps the world’s most visible agent for a nearly a decade and has worked with clubs (often being paid a retainer fee) to “spot” talent for them, which means that he funnels his clients to them. The first notable example is Chelsea in 2004; the London outfit hired Mendes client Jose Mourinho, then brought in Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Tiago, and Maniche as well.
He’s entered into even closer relationships with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Swansea City, and Valencia, stocking those clubs with his clients and raising concerns that he’s actually running the transfer policies there, which would be an obvious conflict of interest in representing both teams and players in negotiations.
While you can certainly defend Joe Barone’s stand against Mendes as the rare instance of a club sticking up for itself against Gestifute’s grasping tentacles, it’s not like Fiorentina’s transfer policy has been all that successful under the current regime. Where you stand on the whole thing really comes down to how you look at this sort of practice.
So which is it? Have Fiorentina dodged a bullet by ditching Gattuso and avoiding all things Mendes? Or have they blacklisted themselves from working with the world’s most powerful agent?
This poll is closed
It’s worth chewing off your own foot to escape the Mendes trap.
Like it or not, working with jerks like Mendes is necessary to the modern game, and pretending otherwise is hopelessly naive.
Here’s your weekend thread. Stay loose.