The first arrival of the January transfer market is reportedly about to take place at Reading FC with Alexandre Mattos signed up to an executive role.
Naturally not a name many Royals fans are familiar with, the Brazilian has spent his entire career in South America with stints at Atletico Mineiro, Cruzeiro and Palmeiras. In fairness, he achieved a lot at those clubs with a lower league title in his first job.
A pair of Serie A league titles came when Mattos worked for Cruzeiro before a Cup win and another couple of Championship crowns with Palmerias - which followed a big rebuild job and an unprecedented 25 signings before their 2015 campaign.
The executive is set to land in Reading after his visa clears, during which time he will return to Cruzeiro in a voluntary capacity. Globo Esporte broke the news of the deal and Mattos told the Brazilian outlet:
“I will go on a huge challenge, in another country, with another idea, and things will happen. I don’t want to talk yet, because I have to get a visa.
It’s a change of country, of culture, but I’ll face it and see if we can win there too. But I also want to wait for it to happen, with my visa.
I received the offer on [Saturday].”
Mattos clearly has a fine CV, having also been named best director in Brazilian football on four occasions. However he also served a 120-day ban for suggesting a female assistant referee should “model for Playboy” because she was “unprepared” to run the line - comments he later apologised for.
Reading’s relationship with transfer bosses has been tetchy of late. Nicky Hammond led the club through severely choppy seas to great effect before Brian Tevreden made some good - and many not good - signings. Ron Gourlay then took over and worked hard to sink the ship with bad contracts handed out to players that didn’t fit the club at all.
And remember, Gianluca Nani spent three months in the role doing... something. More recently, current manager Mark Bowen was briefly sporting director, before Nigel Howe stepped in under the Chinese owners - who have always made clear their desire to bring in a new face in the long-term.
Let’s hope Mattos can adapt to English football quickly and carry his successful CV over the Atlantic as soon as possible.