Who is Nuno Mendes? The Sporting left-back wanted by Man Utd, Man City and Madrid

Martin Macdonald
Who is Nuno Mendes? The Sporting left-back wanted by Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, and Real Madrid

There are a few talents out there at the moment like Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland who are linked with just about every elite club in Europe.

Though Nuno Mendes is by no means at the level of that superstar pairing, the potential is there for the Sporting CP to become one of the world’s star full-backs in the coming years.

He is still just 19 years old. but has shown enough quality to suggest he probably won’t be in Lisbon for long.

What position does Nuno Mendes play in?

Mendes primarily plays as a left-back but can play slightly further forward as a wing-back or on occasion as the left-sided player in a midfield four.

He has also featured as a centre-back previously, though not very often.

How good is Nuno Mendes?

The transfer tug-of-war that will take place soon enough among the biggest clubs in Europe will provide an indicator of how good Mendes is and can be.

At just 19, he has already made 38 senior appearances for Sporting and is now a member of the Portugal senior side, having received a call-up for the World Cup Qualifiers this past March.

Nuno Mendes

Nuno Mendes

Mendes made his debut for Sporting in the summer of 2020 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.

“He’s very strong in one-against-ones, has excellent crossing ability and it’s very easy for him to throw the opposition off-balance,” says Mendes’ former youth coach Diogo Goncalves.

“He frequently surges into the box and into shooting positions. He’s more than a full-back.”

What clubs are interested in Nuno Mendes?

Lots.

Mendes recently signed a new five-year contract with Sporting which raised his release clause from €45 million to €70m, but this rocketing of asking price doesn’t seem to have put off his suitors.

Manchester United are admirers and believe they can use their long-standing business relationship with Sporting to get ahead of the competition, having signed the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, and of course, Bruno Fernandes, from the Portuguese giants in the past.

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.

The issue with a move to Man Utd for Mendes is that Luke Shaw has emerged as one of their best players, while Alex Telles was only signed from Porto this past summer.

Telles has recently been injured, though, and reports from Portugal suggest Mendes could be signed as a replacement, even if its only a month lay-off.

A more plausible destination is Manchester City, as Pep Guardiola has been chopping and changing his left-back position all season. Joao Cancelo, Benjamin Mendy, and Oleksandr Zinchenko have all had their turns, and although Cancelo has impressed the most, his favoured position is on the opposite flank.

Guardiola, therefore, is looking for the final piece in his defensive puzzle and it could be Mendes.

Barcelona are interested, but have very little money so the Camp Nou remains an unlikely destination.

Real Madrid have long been admirers since even before Mendes made his first team debut, with the club viewing him as long-term successor to Marcelo.

However, like Man Utd, Real Madrid have a player excelling in that position at the moment in Ferland Mendy, while they will likely be using all available funds to sign either Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe this summer.

Liverpool had previously been credited with an interest, too, though that appears to be on the decline.

When does Nuno Mendes’ contract expire?

Mendes signed an extension in December of 2020, with the new contract running until 2025.

What is Nuno Mendes’ Instagram?

Mendes’ Instagram account has 102k followers as of March 2021.

Who is Nuno Mendes’ girlfriend?

Mendes is not currently dating anyone publicly.