A deeper look into Gestifute's transactions involving Portuguese clubs following Fabio Silva's noteworthy transfer

18 September 2020

Ederson
Photo: PA Images When Ederson was bought by Manchester City from Benfica for €40 million in 2017 he became the second-most expensive goalkeeper in the world at the time. However, the Portuguese club were only able to record a profit of less than half the total transfer fee at €16 million due to compensation for intermediaries and third-party ownership.

Jorge Mendes' Gestifute agent firm has a good hold on the biggest transfers coming out of Portugal, according to stock market releases from the past three years.

The records show it is not unusual for the firm to take compensation of around a sixth of the total transfer fee – sometimes even more.

Global spending on intermediaries last year rose 19 per cent to €554 million.

Emil Gjerding Nielson nielson@offthepitch.com

It caught headlines when it was revealed last week that Jorge Mendes' agent firm, Gestifute, received €7 million of the €40 million transfer fee Wolverhampton this summer paid Porto for Fabio Silva - corresponding to around a sixth of the total amount. 

But Gestifute's seemingly large compensation for the transfer of a player it does not even represent is not unusual, an investigation offthepitch.com has conducted into publicly available records from the Portuguese stock market can reveal.

When Rui Patricio transferred from Sporting to Wolverhampton for €18 million in 2018 the firm received €4 million in compensation, almost a fifth of the total fee. However, according to a stock release by the Portuguese club, the original amount Gestifute was demanding was €9 million – half the total amount of the transfer fee.

Gestifute did not wish to comment when contacted by offthepitch.com.

Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho at the time accused Gestifute of blackmail, something the firm denied. According to the statement from Sporting, the final sum was lowered only due to the simultaneous sale of Adrien Silva to Leicester.

 

Ederson stands out

When Ederson was bought by Manchester City from Benfica for €40 million in 2017 he became the second-most expensive goalkeeper in the world at the time. However, the Portuguese club were only able to record a profit of less than half the total transfer fee at €16 million due to compensation for intermediaries and third-party ownership.

A full €24 million was split between Gestifute, who was reportedly entitled to 20 per cent of the fee, and his former club Rio Ave who were entitled to 30 per cent of the fee, and the intermediaries on the transaction. FIFA has since banned third-party ownership.

Since Mendes became involved with Wolverhampton when their Chinese owner Fosun in 2015 bought 15 per cent of Gestifute's parent company, Start SGPS, for about €42 million, the firm has profited nicely from dealing with the Premier League club.

Of Raul Jimenez' €38 million transfer to Wolverhampton in 2019, Benfica could record a profit of €23 million despite having amortised more than two thirds of the €22 million fee they paid Atletico Madrid for him in 2015. More than a third of the transfer fee, €14.9 million, was assigned to intermediaries, i.e. Gestifute (and possibly others), and to write off his net book value.

When Willy Boly transferred from Porto to Wolverhampton in 2018 for €12 million, €6.4 million was paid to intermediaries and to write off his net book value. 

Rising agent fees

Global spending on intermediaries last year rose 19 per cent to €554 million, according to FIFA. Since Wolverhampton were promoted to the Premier League in 2018 their spending on agents has risen from €2.2 million in the 2017/18 season to €9.4 million last season. 

That remains in the lower end among clubs in the Premier League, however, with Liverpool's €49.7 million paid out in the 2019/20 season being the highest amount ever. Among European clubs Dortmund were the second-biggest spenders that season, having paid out €44.5 million to intermediaries.

The Premier League in total last season paid out €356.2 million in agent fees.  

FIFA's Football Stakeholders Committee in 2019 recommended a cap on agents' commissions of ten per cent for agents of the releasing club, three per cent of the player's remuneration for player agents, and three per cent of the player's remuneration for agents of engaging clubs 

It also recommended to limit multiple representation to avoid conflicts of interest. No such measures have yet been implemented.