It seems there was one more youth talent from the Portuguese league who could’ve joined Wolverhampton Wanderers in the past couple of years.
Besides the many signings from Liga NOS arriving at Molineux, Wolves also tried the purchase of Sporting winger Joelson Fernandes.
The attempt was revealed by his father and agent, Eusébio Mango Fernandes, in a chat with outlet O Democrata, from Guinea Bissau.
He claims that several European sides have been trying to sign the wonderkid, and the interest from Wolves was passed to him by Sporting president Frederico Varandas.
“In the meeting I had with Varandas, he explained to me that when he arrived in England last season to close Rui Patrício’s transfer to Wolverhampton, he was confronted with the English club’s interest in Joelson and transmitted to the club guided by Nuno Espírito Santos that has no intention of selling the athlete,” Eusébio Fernandes told O Democrata.
“In this sense Sporting didn’t believe that the player would remain in the team because of the approaches of the various clubs with millionaire proposals.”
Besides Wolves, the likes of Ajax, Arsenal, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City and RB Leipzig have all tried to sign Fernandes.
The offers from this summer were between €1m and €20m, and none was enough to convince Sporting and the player, who ended up signing a three-year extension with the club.
“It had to be a thoughtful decision, because my wish as a father and agent, on the day that Joelson Fernandes leaves Sporting, is to be friendly and through the big door, but not through the back door.
“It was an extremely difficult and very complicated process, because there were tough moments in the negotiations for Joelson Fernandes to stay at Sporting. My wish was always for him to stay at the club, but due to his quality as a footballer, he had calls from several European clubs.
“Despite these very tempting offers, as an agent, I ended up dispensing with these invitations, despite knowing that I needed those millionaire offers, but I thought that in life money isn’t everything, because we must be aware that there’s a word called ‘gratitude’, for that, we are grateful to Sporting for what they gave.”
Perhaps Wolves had a bigger chance when they made that early approach than now, when the teenager attracted such a big race for his signing.