7 ex-Premier League stars who became top agents including Yakubu and Deco

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There are plenty of avenues open to Premier League footballers when their careers come to an end in the modern era.

It did not always used to be so certain that a footballer could simply walk into a job when their career was over. Fortunately, there are various opportunities and support networks available for those who struggle..

The vast majority of players will maintain some form of contact with the game, whether it is through coaching or management.

Others may decide to step into football punditry, with former stars such as Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Micah Richards enjoying notoriety for their weekly musings on Sky Sports.

But more recently, players are trying their hand at becoming an agent. Such a role requires a certain level of savviness to get the best deal for their client, but having the inside track on what goes on in the football world is viewed as a bonus.

The rewards can be handsome too. One only has to look at how Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola have built themselves an empire with the top players belonging to their agencies.

So, which players have tried their hand at getting involved as a negotiator?

Star Sport looks at seven footballers now representing other budding players to broker deals and transfers…

Which team will win the Premier League in 2021-22? Comment below.

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Deco

One man making his name in the headlines is former Chelsea midfielder Deco, who has become an agent after linking up with Mendes’ Gestifute agency.

Having spent his career playing for Porto, Barcelona and Chelsea, the ex-Portugal international is working as an i now of the 42-year-old’s most high-profile clients is Leeds winger Raphinha.

The 25-year-old has been linked with a move to Liverpool after starring in his first season for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, following a £20m move from Lille.

The forward made his international debut for Brazil and marked his impressive form with two goals as the Selecao beat Uruguay 4-1 on Thursday.

Deco has publicly addressed his client’s future, insisting the Reds are interested in signing the midfielder and added he wants a big move in his career.

He played a key role in helping facilitate Fabinho’s move to Anfield in 2018 — and could soon find himself involved in another deal.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni

Once on the books at Portsmouth and Everton, Yakubu earned a reputation for scoring regularly in the Premier League.

The Nigerian scored 96 goals in the top flight across his time in England, having last turned out for Coventry before hanging up his boots in 2017.

He spent his career scoring goals at club and international level, but now the 38-year-old focuses his time on managing his 10 clients with his company, Wilbury Sports Management.

The company assists aspiring players and coaches in mapping out their careers in football and it has now opened training centres in the Florida, with another planned in Cyprus.

When asked about motivation for becoming an agent, Aiyegbeni insisted he wanted to pass on his wisdom to the next generations and distance himself from the moneymakers in the business.

“I have seen so many young players thinking they are going to the top, but up there (in the mind), they are not strong. Mentally zero. So you make them believe they can do it,” he told Portsmouth News.

“Other agents just want to sign the players; they don’t care if they train, it’s up to you.

“But I don’t want to be one of those agents just taking the money. I want to teach these boys how to become a better player."

Mateja Kezman

Having seen his agent negotiate a lucrative switch for him to join Chelsea in 2004, it is understandable that Mateja Kezman viewed it as a viable career path.

The Serbian, signed by Jose Mourinho in his first campaign in the Premier League, largely failed to deliver on the promise of his goals from his time with PSV Eindhoven.

Kezman only scored seven goals in his 41 games for the club before heading back to the Eredivisie after just one season in 2005.

But at least now, he can help others achieve career ambitions, chiefly Lazio playmaker Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

The 25-year-old has long been linked with the Premier League, with Manchester United thought to be long-term admirers.

The fact that he hasn’t moved yet may have nothing to do with Kezman and everything to do with his reported £90million asking price, which has put off potential suitors.

But his agent’s advice would surely be to avoid a move to Stamford Bridge after his nightmare experience in west London.

Ian Harte

Renowned for having a lethal left foot, especially when it came to free-kicks, Ian Harte is now making his name in the agency industry.

The 64-cap former Ireland international has a wealth of experience after spending the majority of his career at Elland Road, before moving on to Reading and Bournemouth.

More specifically, he is helping his former club keep one of their most promising youngsters after he decided to switch to Harte’s agency.

Morten Spencer, 16, recently announced he had signed with Harte’s YMU Group agency, who manage a number of players across the UK and USA.

Former Leeds duo Kemar Roofe and Jack Clarke, now playing for Anderlecht and Tottenham respectively, are also on the books and are being looked after by Harte.

Mikkel Beck

While he may not have been a household name during his time in England, Mikkel Beck has established himself as a key figure in the world of football representation.

The Dane had a fairly successful spell at Middlesbrough between 1996 and 1998, before going on to feature for Derby County. He was also featured for his nation at Euro ’96 alongside Jon Dahl Tomasson.

But he has reached new heights in the agency world, using his contacts to forge relationship with key footballers.

Beck’s company, Beckster, works with clients including Simon Kjaer, Mat Ryan and Lucas Digne. He knows the many pitfalls facing players, even at the top.

Now 48, Beck insists he uses his company to help players through tough times, rather than simply make as much money as possible.

Michael Ball

Remembered for entering the one-cap wonder club of England internationals in 2001, Michael Ball went on to enjoy a fruitful career in football.

He started his career at Everton before making a record £6.5m transfer to Rangers the same year. Ball then went on to join PSV Eindhoven and Manchester City.

He is now director of his own sport company, CCR Sports agency, which deals in providing representation to players and marketing services.

Having gone through multiple transfers and a career playing at the highest level, Ball has plenty of experience to offer the next generation of footballers.

Dean Sturridge

Family links run deep in football as it proves with Dean Sturridge, the former Premier League striker who has turned to football agency to make his living after a successful career in England.

Sturridge spent the best years of his career at Derby, where he remains their top scorer in Premier League with 53 goals in his 190 league appearances.

Now 48, Sturridge is the uncle of former Liverpool and Chelsea striker Daniel, who recently completed a switch to join Australian outfit Perth Glory on a free transfer.

The elder Sturridge runs his own sports management company, Sturridge Sports Management, with clients including Leeds forward Tyler Roberts and West Brom's Rayhaan Tulloch.

Indeed, it was his agency that seal his nephew's move to the A-League and could also help his 20-year-old son, DJ, seal a move in the future after beginning his career as Aston Villa.

  • Premier League

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