The deadline day drama is sometimes even more interesting than the start of a season itself – especially in the era of social media. This is because so many rumors and speculations make the atmosphere around the final day of a transfer window sensational. And what’s more, there are not one but two deadline days in each season – one during the summer and one during the winter transfer window.
Soccer agents are in charge of a player’s interest and contribute to negotiations between two clubs (or a club and a player in case the player is a free agent). Being a soccer agent is not an easy job. Alongside talent, it takes time and energy to be a top-tier soccer agent. There is a fine line between being a good guy and a supervillain. Mainly because some would argue that soccer agents are just entrepreneurs who see their players as assets and not real people. That’s why being an agent is definitely not something that just anyone is suited for.
We will take a look at some of the most renowned soccer agents all around the world. If you’re new to the soccer transfer world, you will most likely not be familiar with these names, but even if you’re already a soccer enthusiast, we believe that you will still see an unfamiliar face.
1. Mino Raiola
There probably isn’t a list of the most influential soccer agents that doesn’t include Mino Raiola – especially on the top of the list. Raiola is a renowned soccer agent mostly known for acquiring signatures of young talents, who then go on to become superstars. His business model relies mostly on him transferring these players between top clubs. The bigger the club, the bigger the price. It is unknown what his percentage in these deals is, but it is estimated that his contracts are worth over $850 million in total.
Some of the biggest names under his management are Erling Haaland, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Donyell Malen, Paul Pogba, Matthijs de Ligt, Romelu Lukaku, Marco Verrati, Jesse Lingard, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Blaise Matuidi, Lorenzo Insigne.
2. Jorge Mendes
At the top, alongside Mino Raiola, we have Jorge Mendes – a soccer agent famous not only because of his current “roster” of players but also coaches (or managers, whichever term you prefer). Mendes is mostly known for being a soccer agent to many of his compatriots but also to some other European and South American superstars. His net worth is currently estimated at a little over $1 billion.
Some of the most popular players on his list are: Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernado Silva, Angel Di Maria, Ruben Dias, Diego Costa, Ruben Neves, Radamel Falcao, Nélson Semedo, James Rodriguez and Ederson.
And the coaches: Jose Mourinho (AS Roma), Nuno Espirito Santo (Free agent), Bruno Lage (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Aitor Karanka (Free agent), and Gennaro Gattuso (Free agent).
3. Jonathan Barnett
Probably one of the biggest names in English soccer, Barnett is yet another top-tier soccer agent. He built his resume by mostly working with some of the best English players in the past couple of decades. An example of his work would be the record-breaking transfer of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid back in 2013. A deal that saw Spurs earn over $100 million. It is approximated that the total earnings of all of his transfer deals have reached $1.4 billion.
Some of the biggest names on his list, among many others, include Gareth Bale, Jordan Pickford, Jack Grealish, Adam Lallana, Wojciech Szczesny, Luke Shaw, Joe Hart, Kieran Tierney, Ben Chilwell, Ibrahim Konaté, Eduardo Camavinga, Houssem Aouar, Unai Simón, and James Ward-Prowse.
4. Volker Struth
An agent that mostly covers the German market. Struth has been responsible for some of the biggest transfers both to and from the Bundesliga. To be more precise, he has been involved in transfers that generated over $300 million, out of which he managed to earn a little bit over $35 million.
The list of the players he’s associated with consists of, you guessed it, mostly Bundesliga (current and former) players like Niklas Süle, Timo Werner, Dayot Upamecano, Toni Kroos, Mohamed Camara, Wout Weghorst, Kevin Trapp, and Mario Götze.
5. Pinhas Zahavi
It is almost impossible to talk about Pinhas Zahavi without mentioning his involvement in Roman Abramovich’s acquisition of Chelsea in 2003. When it comes to his involvement in being a soccer agent, it’s hard not to mention his $7 million profit off of around $120 million that Chelsea spent during the summer before their first title chase. His most famous transfer (or transfers) was Rio Ferdinand’s move from West Ham to Leeds in 2000, and then from Leeds to Manchester United a year later. These two transfers generated a little bit over $60 million.
Some of the most notable players he’s worked with are Aleksandar Mitrović, Christopher Nkunku, Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg, Robert Lewandoski, Yannick Carrasco, and Daniel Amartey.
6. Pere Guardiola
Yes, you read that right – not Pep, but Pere Guardiola. The younger brother of Manchester City’s manager has had quite a prolific career as a soccer agent. Even though he might not be in the spotlight like his older brother, Pere has so far worked with various soccer superstars like Luis Suárez. Like many of his colleagues on this list, Pere Guardiola has also invested his money elsewhere – his most notable asset being the part ownership of a Spanish side FC Girona – the second part-owner being Manchester City.
Some other notable names include: William Carvalho, Sergio Akieme, Yuri Berchiche, Rubén Blanco, and Domingos Duarte.
7. Jerome Anderson
Jerome Anderson, a member of Sport Entertainment and Media Group, is a soccer agent famous for being the one who introduced some top-tier foreign players into the Premier League. Something that will leave a huge mark on the league as a whole forever. His work is mostly associated with Arsenal – nine of Arsenal’s 1989 title-winning team players were represented by him. He has worked with over 200 professional soccer players.
Some other big names include Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, and Thierry Henry.
8. Giuliano Bertolucci
As you might’ve noticed, there are various managers who are mostly representing one part of the world, and Giuliano Bertolucci is no exception. An agent who is mostly focused on Brazilian players, Bertolucci has been responsible for the signings of several Brazilian stars who played for Chelsea, like Oscar, Lucas Piazon, David Luiz (both times), Ramires, and Willian, among many others.
Some other big names that he has represented would be: Diego Carlos, Paulinho, Marquinhos, Oscar, David Luiz, Bruno Guimarães, Willian, David Neres, Neto, and Éverton.
Does every player soccer player need an agent?
Kevin De Bruyne, for example, is a player who decided to negotiate a contract extension at Manchester City all by himself. The only people present at the meeting in April 2021 were his lawyer and his family – no agent. After realizing that he could do everything by himself, De Bruyne decided not to have a middleman who would, according to him, probably take a percentage by not doing much.
Another important figure in this story is not an agent but a journalist.
Some would even argue that Fabrizio Romano, an Italian soccer journalist, is as influential as many agents on this list. Romano has managed to gather quite an impressive following in the past couple of years which made him the number one go-to source for all the news regarding done deals and potential new transfers.
Before Romano and social media, people were mostly relying on unreliable second-hand sources that would often create confusion not only among fans but also the clubs and the players involved. This is, of course, the case today as well, but not as often.
While the players who make big money transfers are in the spotlight, soccer agents are the ones who are, to some extent, some sort of superstars. There are various types of agents – either family members who will try their very best to get you a career-changing deal or entrepreneurs who will most likely try to profit as much as they can.
The world of the modern soccer market as we know it is impossible without the aforementioned agents, but a rising number of players who have started to represent will potentially change that in the future.