Manchester United-Mino Raiola affair: A win-win situation for both parties


Manchester United have completed their second signing of the summer transfer window as Romelu Lukaku swapped Everton for Old Trafford.

The Belgium international was all but set to re-join his former club, Chelsea. However, the Red Devils hijacked the deal and were successful in beating the Premier League winners in landing the 24-year-old striker.

It was believed that both United and the Blues met the Merseyside club’s £75 million asking price. However, an opportunity for Lukaku to play under Jose Mourinho was something too hard for him to let it go.

Apart from United’s global appeal and Mourinho’s presence at Old Trafford, another key factor in helping the Red Devils land Lukaku was the player’s agent, Mino Raiola.

Sportslens look at how the Italian-born Dutch super-agent has pocketed in cash by allowing his clients join United. In the last 13 months, Raiola has seen four of his clients move to Old Trafford.

The list includes the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and now Lukaku. The Swedish striker has been released after his contract expired and the latter trio joins Sergio Romero in the list of the players managed by Raiola at United.

However, things were not rosy between the Premier League giants and Raiola. United’s relationship strained when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge.

The Old Trafford’s great elder was unhappy with the manner in which Raiola took Pogba away from the clutches of the Red Devils. The agent convinced the France international to reject a new contract at United and took him to Juventus on a free transfer.

One always forgets how Juventus decided to bet on Pogba, who at that time was yet to prove his worth. Having Pavel Nedved, Raiola’s former client as a director at the Turin club helped the super-agent taking the midfielder to Turin.

Raiola’s strained relationship started to change when Louis van Gaal convinced United to sign free agent Sergio Romero in 2015. This was the turning point for both the agent and the club.

Pogba established himself as one of the best midfielders in Europe and returned to his former club on a world-record transfer of £89 million last summer. Ibrahimovic joined United as a free agent, while the Armenian international swapped Borussia Dortmund for United in the same window.

Before re-joining United, Pogba was wanted by 12-time European champions Real Madrid. However, the Spanish capital club were not willing to pay a world-record fee and also his agent’s fee.

This allowed him the 20-time English champions to capitalise in signing Pogba. Raiola will pocket £41 million from his client’s world-record switch to United.

Regarding Mkhitaryan, it was going to be a win-win situation for Raiola. As per football leaks, the agent had a contract with Dortmund stating that he would make a profit irrespective of whether the playmaker was sold or retained.

Raiola would have taken a cut in the transfer fee if Mkhitaryan was sold, else Dortmund were supposed to pay him millions, had they decided to reject United’s offer.

Chelsea were unwilling to meet Raiola’s eight figure fee in signing Lukaku. The Blues wanted the striker to force a move to Stamford Bridge, against his agent’s wish. However, it was never going to take shape as the player values his agent a lot.

Was is it worth for United to pay the agent fees while signing Lukaku or did they pay his fee with a hope that they would get preferences in the future when the Old Trafford club decide to sign any of his clients.

Have United benefited from Raiola’s clients?

One thing needs to be seen is whether United have benefited from his clients so far. If one would have followed Raiola’s clients and United in the last season, it would have been an easy, straight forward answer.

Mkhitaryan and Romero’s contribution helped United return to the Champions League, which they achieved after winning the Europa League earlier in May. The former Dortmund star scored six goals in the European competition and the one’s scored in the knockout stages ended up proving decisive.

Romero, on the other hand, conceded his first goal in the Europa League in his sixth appearance in the competition. Out of the 12 matches, he kept eight clean sheets including the 2-0 victory over Ajax in the final.

Ibrahimovic helped United win the Community Shield and the EFL Cup, scoring three of the four goals in the final. Not to forget, the two goals scored in the Europa League final came from Pogba and Mkhitarayn.

United played in two finals and Community Shield last season, where they scored seven goals in these three matches. Out of those, five of them were scored by Raiola’s clients.

One doesn’t need to dwell into stats to understand Raiola’s importance for United. United and their supporters would be hoping that Lukaku can help them win the Premier League this season. To sum it up, it has been a win-win situation for both United and Raiola from their professional relationship.

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