Eddie Howe has hailed Premier League new boys Wolves’ links to super agent Jorge Mendes as “smart business”.
Bournemouth boss Howe expects the Cherries’ fourth Premier League campaign to be their toughest yet – thanks to the strength of promoted sides Wolves, Fulham and Cardiff.
Last season Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani called the link between Wolves’ Chinese owners and Portuguese agent Mendes “illegal and unfair”.
Eddie Howe, pictured, in Bournemouth’s boot room as preparations intensify for the return to Premier League action (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Wolves now boast a clutch of Mendes’ highly-rated clients in their squad and have been cleared to maintain those links, leaving Cherries boss Howe impressed with the Championship winners’ transfer market savvy.
“I see that as smart business,” Howe told Press Association Sport, of Wolves’ close relationship with Mendes that has yielded star signings like Portugal midfielder Ruben Neves.
“You’ve got a model and a club in the Championship and you find a way to get them into the Premier League.
“No matter how you do that within the rules of the game, that’s smart.
Ruben Neves, pictured, is one of a clutch of Wolves players represented by agent Jorge Mendes (Nick Potts/PA)
“That’s sport, that’s smart; they’ve thought outside of the box and been very creative in what they’ve done. So fair play to them.
“I’ve got no doubt this year will be tougher again, I thought last year’s Premier League was very strong, but I think this will be a greater test; we’re going to have to be better.
“The promoted teams are going to be very, very strong. I was very impressed by Wolves last year and they’ve added a lot of players to their already-talented group.
“Fulham have done the same, they’ve played good football, and I’ve got a lot of time for their manager and their coaching staff.
“So I think both of those teams will be strong, and you look at the teams that are left in the Premier League, beyond the top six; it’s going to be a very strong year.”
Bournemouth have recruited left-back Diego Rico and Wales winger David Brooks, leaving Howe satisfied with the summer recruitment – even if a mooted deal for Levante’s Jefferson Lerma fails to get across the line.
Howe also remains confident Bournemouth can resist any raids on their squad, with Tottenham rumoured to be eyeing a move for England midfielder Lewis Cook.
“The summer transfer window has been tough, I will say that; difficult with the World Cup and the window shutting earlier,” said Howe.
“It’s been different from last year, and we’ve found it harder to bring the players in we want.
“I’d like to think that once the window closes that will be us very secure, and then have the squad to work with until January.
“We’re very pleased with what we’ve done so far in the transfer market, we’re very pleased with Rico and Brooks, so we’re happy with that.
“We’ve tried to create competition for places and improve the squad. Diego’s a very talented footballer and from the short time he’s been with us we’ve seen what he can bring.
“I think David has all the attributes to do well in the Premier League as well; I’m really excited about his future.”