When it was first reported at the start of January that Brazilian Alexandre Mattos had agreed to become Reading’s new sporting director, it was understood that he would have to wait around 45 days to obtain a visa before he could officially start work in RG2. However, that time frame ended in mid to late February and there has been no announcement from the club about his appointment.
Now reports in Brazil are suggesting that the Coronavirus outbreak has led to the process of obtaining a visa being lengthened, with Mattos still waiting for confirmation of his right to work in England. This has reportedly made Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro believe they can steal Mattos away and appoint him as their own director, according to high-profile Brazilian journalist Paulo Vinicius Coelho.
Mattos first made his name as a sporting director at America Mineiro between 2005 and 2011. He would go on to work at Cruzeiro and Palmeiras and be named best director in Brazilian football four times. Reports first emerged of Mattos’ move to Reading at the start of January, and a few days later his links with Kia Joorabchian were revealed as the circumstances around his appointment became clearer.
Although he has not officially started work at the Madejski Stadium, Mattos’ impact has already been felt in Berkshire. He oversaw the arrival of Felipe Araruna from Sao Paulo in the January transfer window, with the Royals also linked with a move for his teammate and compatriot Igor Liziero. He may also have been involved in the deal to bring Ayub Masika in on loan from Beijing Renhe, with Mattos’ job remit also seemingly to oversee the exchange of players between the owners’ three clubs (Reading, KSV Roeselare and Beijing Renhe).
However it doesn’t seem like the 43-year-old will be ditching the Royals any time soon. Mattos reportedly has no intention to return to Brazil and is content with his role at Reading, whilst it would be expensive for Atletico to take him back to South America so soon into his time in England. Meanwhile, Atletico Mineiro are huge rivals of Cruzeiro, Mattos’ former team and the club he supports, making a switch unlikely.
Nonetheless, the wait for confirmation of his official appointment behind the scenes with the Royals goes on...