Wolves chairman Jeff Shi has hit out at Aston Villa and Leeds United, branding their actions ‘laughable’.
Villa, who thumped Wolves 4-1 at Villa Park on Saturday evening, are among a clutch of Championship teams to have voiced their concerns to the EFL over their rivals’ relationship with super agent Jorge Mendes.
Since Fosun bought Wolves from Steve Morgan 18 months ago several clients of Mendes’ agency Gestifute have arrived in the Black Country.
And Villa, along with Leeds, Derby County and others, want to know how Wolves are affording to pay the likes of Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota and Ivan Cavaleiro’s wages while staying within the constraints of Financial Fair Play.
Villa chief executive Keith Wyness tweeted a story relating to Paul Lambert’s sacking at Molineux as tensions rose between the two West Midlands foes last week.
It’s widely thought that Mendes and former Wolves – and Villa – boss Lambert had differing views on transfers and the Scot paid the price as a result.
Meanwhile, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani lashed out after Wolves beat his team 3-0 at Elland Road. The Italian tweeted: “Congratulations to the best team but hope the league can be fair and equal to all 24 teams treatment?
“We should play 24 with the same rules and opportunities (it’s enough to Google it).
“We have our own problems but we should [be] in a fair competition. Not legal and fair let one team owned by a fund whom has shares in the biggest players agency with evident benefit (top European clubs giving players with options to buy…why the other 23 have the same).”
But Shi is unimpressed by Wyness and Radrizzani. He told the Express & Star: “I was very surprised to see some Twitter of the chairman of Leeds (Andrea Radrizzani) because I knew him, I also had several lunches with him, together with Jorge!
“So it’s very strange. In person I talk to him and he’s nice, so I guess maybe he has the pressure and I understand that.
“I was also surprised to see the Twitter of Keith (Wyness, Villa chief executive). On Saturday I met him and said ‘what happened?’.
“I’m the chairman of a club so I can understand the pressure. We’re the guys facing pressure from fans and the league and I can understand releasing pressure on Twitter.
“On the other hand I think frankly it’s laughable, because they know nothing about us. I know everything about us and our club and what we’re doing.
“I know everything about the rules of the league and the FA and the EFL knows our dealings, every transfer document, agent fees, all information is recorded in their library.
“Our opponents don’t know much about us and it’s not a fair dispute. It’s easy for us to answer all the questions.”
Villa manager Steve Bruce has tried to avoid voicing his own opinion on the issue, saying it’s a matter to be decided by the EFL and those above him.
However, Bruce has himself questioned how Wolves have been able to convince the likes of Neves to ditch Champions League football for the Championship.
Shi insists Wolves’ rivals are just trying to put a spanner in their promotion works.
“Why are you pointing at some players saying why are they here, or on a low wage, how do they know that? Some teams are trying to do something to undermine us off the pitch.
“If they want to do that we can fight back but I won’t do that because I don’t think that’s the right mindset for anyone in the football industry.
“We know we are purely, purely clean. I told the players we are clear about that. It means we’re doing well that someone wants to attack us. We should say very simply it will not work. We will not be affected by that.
“Football should be focused on the pitch, that’s my view. I understand why they’re doing that, to try and destabilise us.”