It’s said that football agents are a player’s dream and a manager’s worst nightmare. And that’s absolutely true.
Take “super agent” Mino Raiola, for example. The Dutchman boasts a star-studded portfolio, including the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Matthijs de Ligt, but it’s a certain Frenchman who has gained him riches and resentment in equal measure.
He’s looked after Paul Pogba since the beginning of his career, and was the man who advised the midfielder to let his Man United contract expire back in 2012. Years later, when asked how the Red Devils allowed Pogba to leave on a free transfer, Sir Alex Ferguson simply replied: “He had a bad agent. A sh*tbag.”
Then in 2016 Raiola pocketed a staggering £40m for brokering Pogba’s return to Old Trafford, representing almost half of the record transfer fee. Fast forward to the present day and it looks as if Raiola is once again pulling the very profitable strings behind the scenes of a mega money Pogba transfer.
Hate them or loathe them, football agents are here to stay. So if you fancy becoming one of football’s foremost leeches, all you need to do is follow our Mino-inspired top tips…
1 – Appreciate your humble beginnings
Knowing where you came from and recognising what made you is the vital first step on your way to becoming a top player representative. Take Raiola himself, who started out by waiting tables in his parents’ restaurant whilst playing amateur football. That developed his people skills and business acumen, laying the foundations for what was to come.
So embrace that summer you spent working at McDonald’s. Relish the part-time bartender gig you had at university. You may not have thought it back then, but it taught you the only thing you really need to know about becoming an agent: money is everything.
2 – Learn several languages
To smooth any transfer abroad, it’s a fantastic idea to familiarise yourself with foreign languages. Mino himself is able to screw over clubs in seven different languages. You don’t need to be fluent, just the key agent phrases will do.
With the trusty help of Google Translate, we’ve prepared a few essential lines to get you started:
● “Give me more money!” in Spanish is “Dame mas dinero!”
● “I’ll take my payment in a lump sum” in German is “Ich nehme meine Zahlung pauschal entgegen”.
● “I – I mean my client – wants a transfer” in Italian is “Io – intendo il mio cliente – vuole un trasferimento”.
3 – Sign ‘em young
You can’t just rely on the big names of today to keep making you a living – how on Earth can anyone be expected to live off just one £40m transfer commission? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
To combat this, start signing potential players as soon as possible. Kids as young as six years old have agents as standard nowadays, so ideally you want to sign up new clients within a fortnight of them being born to beat the rush. Always think long-term.
4 – Suck up to players
Naturally, for a player to be happy with you creaming off the top of their paypackets, they need to like you – so brown nose them to the hilt. As you can see in the posts below, that’s clearly paid off for our dear friend Mino in recent years.
Look at what a great time they’re having with him! This tactic also worked brilliantly for fellow agent Darren Dein, who ended up being the best man at client Thierry Henry’s wedding. Textbook.
Such sucking up will also aid your networking skills, a crucial attribute of any successful football agent. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know is stupid enough to give you millions of pounds just for signing a piece of paper.
5 – Make yourself a celebrity
To attract and retain talent, it’s important to make yourself a recognisable figure. That could be done physically – being on the portly side and wearing James Bond villain glasses – or simply with a social media presence filled with outlandish statements. Which brings us neatly on to…
6 – Slag off your player’s current employers
To initiate and grease the wheels of a transfer, it always helps to make that player’s current position untenable. That could come in the form of criticising the club, manager, legends, or simply issuing inflammatory statements.
Some people need to talk for fear of being forgotten. Paul Scholes wouldn’t recognize a leader if he was in front of Sir Winston Churchill. @paulpogba
— Mino Raiola (@MinoRaiola) August 21, 2018
Paul Scholes should become sports director and advise Woodward to sell Pogba. Would be sleepless nights to find Pogba a new club @paulpogba
— Mino Raiola (@MinoRaiola) August 21, 2018
Nail this routine and you’ll be rolling around in money, Scrooge McDuck style, in no time at all.
7 – Never settle
Last but not least, always remember that your big pay-day comes when your player heads for pastures new. Ergo, never let your client settle where they currently find themselves.
Yes, that will mean they’ll eventually end their career with a reputation for being a money-grabbing bastard. But who cares? You’ve got tens of millions in the bank and you’ve just signed up a two-week-old baby who may just be the next Lionel Messi.
What’s not to love about agents, eh?