Nuno Mendes – the wonderkid wanted by Man Utd, Real Madrid, and Juventus

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 17 May 2021 21:26 BST 2 min read
Nuno Mendes – the wonderkid wanted by Man Utd, Real Madrid, and Juventus

One of the most sought-after young players in the world at the moment is 18-year-old Sporting CP star Nuno Mendes.

Mendes made his debut for Sporting in the summer when he made an appearance off the bench in a Primeira Liga fixture against Pacos Ferreira, having been with the club since he was 10-years-old.

When Marcus Acuna left the club for Sevilla ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, he was promoted to the role of first-choice left-back for the Lisbon side.

Naturally gifted with athleticism and pace, Mendes is known for his reading of the game, too, as he can deputise at centre-back as well as fulfilling his role on the left of a four-man defence or as a wing-back.

Man Utd are the latest team interested in a swoop for the 18-year-old, with Real Madrid, Juventus, and Milan all previously linked with a transfer, according to Portuguese daily O Jogo.

Nuno Mendes: Snapshot

Tackles P901.0
Duels Won P905.9
Ball Recoveries P905.1
Interceptions P903.1
Aerials Won P901.1
Crosses P904.9
Dribbles P901.4
Primeira Liga only, via FootballCritic

Crucially, Mendes is represented by the same agent as Bruno Fernandes, which could play in United’s favour should they decide to make a move.

At the moment, he currently has a release clause of £40m [€44m], but Sporting are hoping to tie him down to a new contract before January to increase that to around £60m, or potentially higher.

United have long had a working relationship with Sporting ever since the transfers of Ronaldo, Nani, and then Fernandes in January of 2021.

When Mendes made his debut in June, he actually became the second-youngest player in Sporting’s history to feature in the Portuguese top-flight, with Ronaldo being the first.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains keen on the young wonderkid, despite recruiting left-back Alex Telles in the summer, with Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams also available to play in that position.

Mendes’ versatility makes him an intriguing proposition for the Old Trafford side.