Highest-paid in English football isn't Rooney

Who is the highest-paid man in English football? It's not who you think

Jorge Mendes Sighting - Manchester

If you had a penny for every word written about footballing salaries, you'd probably have enough money to pay Wayne Rooney's salary - for a week. It's hardly surprising we hear so much about Rooney's £300,000 a week contract - and his £60 million fortune - because it's an incredible sum to be paid for running around kicking a ball. What is more surprising, however, is that he's not the highest-paid man in English football.

The real money maker is someone we hear far less about: Jorge Mendes.

He's a football super-agent, who was behind many of the eye-wateringly expensive deals in this summer's transfer window. Agents in general made a staggering sum this summer: The Mirror puts the figure at £120 million (from a transfer market of £858 million).

The newspaper calculates that more than £30 million of this windfall went to Mendes alone - because he was behind the transfer of James Rodriguez to Real Madrid, Angel Di Maria to Manchester United, Eliaquim Mangala to Manchester City and Diego Costa to Chelsea.

It means that right now he's the highest paid man in English football.

But who is he?
The Portuguese national is said to have wanted to be a footballer when he was growing up, but didn't make it, so went into the nightclub business instead. It was while he was in this role that the Guardian says he met the goalkeeper Nuno in a bar and the pair got talking. He somehow impressed the footballer so much over drinks that he ended up negotiating Nuno's transfer to Deportivo La Coruña.

After word got around about his deal-making prowess, he gradually built his business to the point where he was representing almost all the Portuguese international players. He has since become fluent in a multitude of languages, and developed contacts around the world, to ensure he always knows the right person in the right place when there's a deal to be done.

There are those who question whether he ought to be allowed to siphon so much money away from English football pitches, but those people ought to remember that for years sports lawyers have been trying to get a toe-hold in football representation - at a far lower cost to the clubs and the players - but for some reason the players have resolutely stuck with agents.

It's almost as if they're in it for the money.

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