Monday, February 22, 2016

The Best Free Agents this Summer!

Since the introduction of the Bosman ruling in 1995, clubs have strived to extend deals more than 12 months in advance of their contract expiry in a bid to avoid losing key assets for knock-down prices, or worse still for free come deadline time.

With the Financial Fair Play rules now in place, many clubs are looking for bargains when it comes to signing players. This is why they will be checking on who is available on a free transfer at the end of this season.

A look at the list of players nearing the ends of their contracts across Europe raises the possibility of many intriguing deals.

Here I take a look at a selection of the players whose current deals are due to expire in the summer of 2015!

Zlatan Ibrahimović - Age: 34 / Current Club: Paris Saint-Germain / Position: Forward

Branislav_Ivanović - Age: 31 / Current Club: Chelsea / Position: Right-Back

Riccardo Montolivo - Age: 31 / Current Club: AC Milan / Position: Midfielder

Tom Carroll - Age: 23 / Current Club: Tottenham / Position: Central Midfielder

Sofiane Feghouli - Age: 26 / Current Club: Valencia / Position: Winger

Emmanuel Adebayor - Age: 31 / Current Club: Crystal Palace / Position: Forward

Hatem Ben Arfa - Age: 28 / Current Club: Nice / Position: Attacking Midfielder

Tom Huddlestone - Age: 29 / Current Club: Hull City / Position: Midfielder

Ricky Álvarez - Age: 27 / Current Club: Sampdoria / Position: Attacking Midfielder

Samir Handanovic - Age: 31 / Current Club: Inter Milan / Position: Goalkeeper

John Terry - Age: 35 / Current Club: Chelsea / Position: Centre-Back

Nicolas Nkoulou - Age: 25 / Current Club: Marseille / Position: Defender

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson - Age: 29 / Current Club: Manchester United / Position: Left-Back

André Carrillo - Age: 29 / Current Club: Sporting Lisbon / Position: Winger

Tonny Vilhena - Age: 21 / Current Club: Feyenoord / Position: Midfielder

Victor Valdes - Age: 34 / Current Club: Manchester United / Position: Goalkeeper

Miguel Veloso- Age: 29 / Current Club: Dynamo Kiev / Position: Left-Back

Jon Flanagan - Age: 23 / Current Club: Liverpool / Position: Full-Back

Éve Banega - Age: 27 / Current Club: Sevilla / Position: Central Midfielder

Mikel Arteta - Age: 19 / Current Club: Arsenal / Position: Left-Back

Caner Erkin - Age: 27 / Current Club: Fenerbahçe / Position: Left-Back

James Morrison - Age: 29 / Current Club: West Brom / Position: Midfielder

Álvaro Arbeloa - Age: 33 / Current Club: Real Madrid / Position: Full-Back

Kevin-Prince Boateng - Age: 28 / Current Club: AC Milan / Position: Midfielder

Steven Fletcher - Age: 28 / Current Club: Sunderland / Position: Forward

Nenad Tomović - Age: 28 / Current Club: Fiorentina / Position: Defender

Steven Pienaar - Age: 33 / Current Club: Everton / Position: Attacking Midfielder

Martin Caceres - Age: 28 / Current Club: Juventus / Position: Defender

Joel Campbell - Age: 23 / Current Club: Arsenal / Position: Forward

Steve Mandanda - Age: 30 / Current Club: Marseille / Position: Goalkeeper

Gregory van der Wiel - Age: 30 / Current Club: Paris Saint-Germain / Position: Right-Back

Junior Hoilett - Age: 25 / Current Club: Queens Park Rangers / Position: Winger

Ron Vlaar - Age: 31 / Current Club: Paris Saint-Germain / Position: Centre-Back

Mathieu Flamini - Age: 31 / Current Club: Arsenal / Position: Midfielder

Marcos Alonso - Age: 25 / Current Club: Fiorentina / Position: Left-Back

Stéphane Sessègnon - Age: 31 / Current Club: West Brom / Position: Midfielder

Marc Wilson - Age: 28 / Current Club: Stoke City / Position: Centre-Back

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Most Powerful Football Agents 2015

Business analysts Forbes have published their most recent findings on the
'World's Richest Football Agents' with those responsible for brokering deals for the biggest names unsurprisingly near the top of the list.
Premier League clubs spent over £1billion on transfers in 2015, shattering the equivalent figures recorded by the other major European leagues.

With the role of the agent becoming more and more prominent, here we look at the most powerful middle men currently doing business in the game.

7/ Thomas Kroth

Thomas Kroth was born 26 August 1959 in Erlenbach am Main, Germany. Kroth is a former Bundesliga professional football player.

Kroth won the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) with three different teams. In 1983 with FC Köln, in 1987 with Hamburger SV and in 1989 with Borussia Dortmund. In 1985, he earned one cap for Germany against Hungary.

Kroth retired from his pro soccer career in 1991 to enter into the player representation business. These days, his agency Pro Profil, represents over 110 football/soccer players throughout Europe and the world including: Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, former Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa, Dynamo Kyiv defender Aleksander Dragovic, Shinji Okazaki of Leicester City, Bayern Munich midfielder Sebastian Rode and Watford's José Holebas.

Contracts worth: £146m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £14.7m

Thomas Kroth is ranked #25 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

6/ Fernando Felicevich

Fernando Felicevich was born 22 April 1970 in Argentina.

Until the age of 33, Fernando Felicevich never had contact with professional football.
But Fernando Felicevich is now the king of South American soccer, representing the likes of Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal, Aresenal's Alexis Sanchez (below) and Inter Milan midfielder Gary Medel, Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, Felipe Guitiérrez who plays for FC Twente in the Eredivisie, and Charles Aránguiz who plays in Qatar.

Felicevich's has a sterling reputation in the global football business for his pragmatic approach to negotiation, as well as parental relationship with many of his players.

In Chile he works with a counselor who can provide services to his players. Fernando always cares about his players’ image and the information that appears about them. You can see that just taking a look at his Twitter account: he uses it to inform about transfers, to correct incorrect news and to answer when someone has any doubts about one of the footballers he represents.

Felicevich has become one of the game's most coveted agents, having enjoyed an extremely lucrative 12 months following the Brazil World Cup in 2014, where they reached the round of 16 before being eliminated by the host nation.
Chile's success at the tournament laid the platform for things to come and they went on to win the Copa América the following year, with four of manager Jorge Sampaoli's side now having signed big-money deals across Europe - all coming from Felicevich's stable.

Contracts worth: £148m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £15m

Fernando Felicevich is ranked #23 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

5/ Mino Raiola

Mino Raiola was born 4 November 1967 in Nocera Inferiore in the Salerno province of southern Italy.

A one man show, Mino Raiola is one of the most powerful agents in the soccer industry. Raiola, of Maguire Tax & Legal in the Netherlands, represents a small (relative to multi-agent agencies) but star studded collection of players (approx. 35 in total).

Sir Alex Ferguson may have blamed Raiola for the departure of Paul Pogba from Manchester United on the cheap, but the player's agent is synonymous with the trade, becoming a revered figure among his peers in recent years.

Mino Raiola with his client  Zlatan Ibrahimović in Milan

Raiola powerful roster of soccer’s top talent includes: Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, Juventus star Paul Pogba, Italian striker Mario Balotelli, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi, Borussia Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan and AC Milan's Ignazio Abate.

Contracts worth: £186m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £18.7m

Mino Raiola is ranked #22 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

4/ José Otin (José Antonio Martín Otin)

Founder and president of Bahia International, Otin transitioned form a career in radio to the sports agent business by recruiting some of the Iberian Peninsula's best players. Dealing only in players from his homeland of Spain, Otin represents the likes of Chelsea striker Pedro, Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez, Spanish international Fernando Torres, Manchester City's Jesus Navas, Sevilla FC winger Víctor Pérez, Athletic Bilbao midfielder Raúl García, Valencia CF's Dani Parejo, Real Sociedad's Asier Illarramendi, Málaga CF midfielder Ignacio Camacho and Arsenal's Nacho Monreal

Otin has cast his net across Europe, reaping the rewards of negotiating deals for some of the biggest stars across the top five leagues from one country to another. The Bahia Internacional agent deals exclusively with Spanish footballers, but that hasn't stopped the man who once worked in radio from sending his clients abroad.

Contracts worth: £191m
Commissions: (career payments for completed deals): £19.2m

Jose Otin is ranked #15 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

3/ Volker Struth

The SportsTotal agent is the most powerful middle man in German football, with some of the biggest names currently plying their trade in the Bundesliga (considered by many to be the best football league in the world) being on his books.

Mario Gotze is one such illustrious name, but Struth made headlines in the summer when he claimed the current Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola had 'destroyed' his player through a lack of first-team opportunities.

Struth with Mario Gotze and Marco Reus

Other notable clients include: Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes, Bayer Leverkusen and Turkish international Ömer Toprak, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gonzalo Castro, Schalke's German international winger Sidney Sam and Swiss international Josip Drmic.

Contracts worth: £278m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £27.8m

Volker Struth is ranked #5 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

2/ Jonathan Barnett

Jonathan Barnett was born 28 January 1950. Barnett is one of the most important figures in football — and yet you may never have heard of him. Barnett grew up on Baker Street in the West End of London, entering the workplace as an employee of Curzon House Group, a casino business owned by his family. Barnett owns Stellar Group, an agency he founded with David Manasseh in 1994.

While Barnett's first client was legendary Cricket player Brian Lara, he has made a name for himself since then representing some of the world's best soccer players. Representing well over 100 players throughout dozens of global leagues, Barnett manages the largest roster of clients of any single agent in the Forbes Top 50. Barnett is also often given credit for introducing Lennox Lewis into professional boxing.

Barnett masterminded Gareth Bale's £86million move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013, and the highest-placed Brit on the list also played a crucial role in negotiating Luke Shaw's £27m move from Southampton to Manchester United the following summer.

His clients include: England and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, Lyon and Brazilian international Rafael da Silva, Poland's international goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson, Newcastle's recent signing Jonjo Shelvey, Everton defender Phil Jagielka, Liverpool's Adam Lallana and former Arsenal, Chelsea and AS Roma defender Ashley Cole.

Contracts worth: £287m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £28.8m

Jonathan Barnett is ranked #4 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

1/ Jorge Mendes

Jorge Paulo Agostinho Mendes was born 7 January 1966 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Jorge Mendes is often referred to as a "super-agent," having negotiated more than £625m in player contracts, including a £135m deal for client Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo returned the favour when his agent recently got married, buying him a Greek island as a wedding present. He has been recognized as 'FIFA's Agent of the Year' on three occasions by his peers.

Mendes began life as a footballer but was forced to abandon his hopes of a professional career after being rejected by a number of Portuguese clubs when he was in his early 20's. Instead, he ran a video rental store, worked as a DJ and opened a bar and nightclub in Caminha, north-west Portugal.

Mendes, began his football agent career focusing primarily on Portuguese players. He is registered with the Portuguese Football Federation and heads the GestiFute company, which was founded in 1996 and is based in Porto.

Mendes's first deal as a football agent came in 1996 when he brokered Nuno's move from Vitória de Guimarães to Deportivo de La Coruña. He had met the goalkeeper in a bar in Guimarães. After that deal, Mendes gradually attracted more Portuguese players, including Jorge Andrade. Hugo Viana's move from Sporting CP to Newcastle United in the Premier League for around €12 million in 2002 was his first major international transfer.

Part of Mendes's success was ostensibly based on his frequent presence at soccer schools and youth teams throughout Portugal, spotting and signing up young players, as he did with Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma.

In 2008, GestiFute announced that it had entered into partnership with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in the United States to "create global opportunities for current and future clients," following CAA's expansion into the sports market.

"Sir Alex Ferguson wrote in his new autobiography Leading: 'There are some decent agents, but you don't need all the fingers of one hand to count them. Jorge Mendes is one."

His clients include: Ronaldo, Chelsea striker Diego Costa, Manchester City and French international defender Eliaquim Mangala, Real Madrid winger James Rodriguez, Portuguese international Fábio Coentrão, Real Madrid defender Pepe, Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil defender Thiago Silva, Radamel Falcao currently on loan at Chelsea, AS Monaco's Ricardo Carvalho, Angel di Maria the Paris Saint-Germain and Argentine international, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and football manager Jose Mourinho.

Contracts worth: £626.3m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £62.8m

Jorge Mendes is ranked #2 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

Jorge Mendes with his client Cristiano Ronaldo

Monday, February 01, 2016

Babe of the Month - Fitness Beauty Jamie Eason

Jamie Eason is an American fitness model, writer and online trainer who was born in Houston, Texas on 10th April 1976. Jamie is also a former NFL cheerleader and winner of the World's Fittest Model competition.

While working towards a degree in speech communication/organization at Texas A&M University, she took a weight training class for a kinesiology credit.
It was then that her interest in fitness training began.

In 2001, after graduating from college and while working for her grandfather's roofing company, she tried out for the new Houston Texans cheerleading squad. She was one of 35 girls selected from 1,600 girls in a rigorous two-day process.

After a short time as a Houston Texans cheerleader, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 22, forcing her to a desk job where her inactive lifestyle and poor nutrition took a toll on her body. In an attempt to get in shape, she joined a local gym. She continued to work out and improve but wasn't completely satisfied with her results. After consulting a nutritionist, she was put on a proper diet that completely transformed her body.

However and at the age of 28 a back injury revealed that she has Spina Bifida Occulta, a minor form of the disease that is quite debilitating during flare-ups. Jamie doesn’t let health ailments get in the way of her career and goals.

As a result of that incident, Jamie became even more determined to take control of her life and health and become a role model for women everywhere.

Jamie explains her personal philosophy that she shares with others:

"This is your life. If you are not who you want to be, change it! It won't be easy and it may take some time, but surround yourself with people who love and support you and go for it! No regrets! Only you dwell on your failures. Good luck and remember the inner strength you'll achieve from adopting a healthy lifestyle, far supersedes anything physical."

With nearly 235,000 followers on Instagram, and a Facebook page with over a million followers, Jamie has appeared on numerous covers of fitness magazines and is one of the most identifiable figures in the industry.

Eason was first discovered at a fitness competition in Austin, Texas. Jamie began her bodybuilding career in 2005 as a fitness and figure athlete, achieving WNBF Figure Pro and WNSO Fitness Model Pro cards and was crowned the "World's Fittest Model" in 2006.

In addition to her work for, Jamie is frequently featured in articles and cover photos of many of the top fitness magazines and websites including, Oxygen, Ironman, Status Fitness, MuscleMag, Flex, DXL, Fatfighter.TV, Muscle and Fitness Hers and Planet Muscle.

As a spokesperson, Eason has been dubbed the "female face" of, the world's largest and most-visited online retailer for sports supplements and nutritional products. Jamie also has authored several workout plans and routines that are followed by millions of people on the website.

Jamie also focuses on removing the stereotype that women with muscle are unfeminine. She has stated that she regrets some of her earlier photo shoots that showed 'too much skin' when she began her career modeling.

She continues fitness modeling but encourages young women in fitness and modeling not to show a lot of skin stating "It's not worth it." Her training style mostly revolves around weight training, she has stated she prefers that over cardio training, so she doesn't do cardio training a lot but heavily focuses on weight training.

Jamie was married in July 2012 and gave birth to her son August in late 2013 and is expecting her second child this April.

You can follow Jamie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter