Super agent Mino Raiola has been at the background of some of the biggest transfer sagas of the summer; Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic dominated the headlines. However he is also behind two other transfer sagas involving the usual suspects Manchester United and fallen giants Chelsea.
The arrival of Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford prompted many to expect that his agent Jorge Mendes, who also represents the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Diego Costa, to play a major role in the Red Devils’ transfer activity in the summer.
Instead it has been another super-agent in Mino Raiola who has helped Man United sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, while also brokering the imminent world-record signing of Paul Pogba from Juventus. While most of his activities so far centered around Manchester United, he is involved in two other transfer sagas that have been among the most talked about transfers this summer.
Chelsea target Romelu Lukaku is a Raiola client
While Manchester United are breaking the bank for one of their former youth players, their Premier League rivals Chelsea are also trying to get back what they had let go of. The return of Paul Pogba to Old Trafford has been the blockbuster story of the 2016 summer transfer window, but the Blues’ pursuit of Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku is another high-profile transfer story that has dragged on for months.
The Blues had sold Lukaku to Everton in 2014 for £28 million and the 23-year-old striker has progressed well in the past two seasons. He scored 18 goals and registered 6 assists for the Toffees this past season, and his domination of Premier League defences has led to interest from a number of top European clubs. However it is his former employers Chelsea who have been most interested in the player. They have already made two bids with the latest one being a huge £57 million, only to be rejected by the Merseyside club.
Mino Raiola is once again in the background of this massive deal, as he hopes to net a healthy commission off a transfer which could reportedly be worth as much as £75 million. In fact, were it not for the record-breaking numbers behind the Pogba deal, it is quite conceivable that the Lukaku transfer would have been the transfer story of the summer.
The other French midfielder Manchester United want
Paul Pogba has been described as the gem of the France midfield in recent years, but before him that title belonged to Paris Saint-Germain’s Blaise Matuidi. The 29-year-old central midfielder has been lauded for his tenacity, pace, work-rate and awareness, acting as the engine room behind PSG’s dominance of Ligue 1.
Super agent Mino Raiola had reportedly offered the Frenchman to Manchester United before the Paul Pogba transfer speculation started picking up steam. However the Red Devils seem to be unwilling to settle for any player other than their top transfer target. This could be deemed as foolhardy, considering that Matuidi is an underrated talent and could revitalize the midfield of any club he joins.
The Frenchman’s distribution work, defensive ability and technical awareness is top-notch. Matuidi made an average of 53.3 passes per game last season, making one key pass per game, at a phenomenal success rate of 91.4%. Defensively he made 2.4 tackle and 1.4 interceptions, also completing 1.1 dribbles, on average per game. [Stats: Whoscored]
With Manchester United turning a blind eye to the more affordable signing in favour of a marquee transfer, a number of other top European clubs are in the hunt for Matuidi’s signature. PSG’s signing of Polish midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, a favourite of new manager Unai Emery, has cast the France midfielder’s future in doubt. Serie A Champions Juventus, as well as Man United’s Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, are believed to be keen to buy him from the Ligue 1 Champions and they will have to go through super agent Mino Raiola.