Real Madrid Transfers: What you should know about target Nuno Mendes

Nuno Mendes (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
Nuno Mendes (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images) /

Who is Nuno Mendes and why is he being linked to Real Madrid? Let’s discuss the 18-year-old Sporting Lisbon fullback.

Real Madrid could use another left back. Marcelo is no longer a capable contributor for Los Blancos, as sad as that is to say. The club already has a sure-fire starter at left back in Ferland Mendy, who might just be the best player at the position defensively. And they could always try to buy back Sergio Reguilon from Tottenham, with a re-acquisition being cheaper in 2021 than in 2022.

But what if Real Madrid go in another direction? That’s where Nuno Mendes comes into play.

Mendes has been linked on-and-off-again to Los Blancos since the 2020 summer transfer window. A move last summer was never likely, considering Real made it clear they wouldn’t sign anyone. And a move for Mendes doesn’t seem likely in 2021 either, considering Sporting Lisbon may have upgraded their wunderkind’s release clause to nearly 70 million euros. Though, as you may have learned by now, transfer rumor speculation is often opaque.

He is an expensive player, but there’s a reason why he is so highly-rated. Mendes is just 18 years old and is playing excellent football as Sporting’s regular starting left back in Liga NOS. Transfermarkt only values him at 12 million euros, but they also tend to undervalue young players, especially those in leagues outside Europe’s top five.

Nuno Mendes has shown his quality this season in league play

This season, Mendes, per, is averaging 1.4 dribbles per game, 1.3 fouls drawn per game, and 0.8 key passes per game. Defensively, he has 1.7 tackles per game and 2.5 interceptions per game, and the defensive numbers are especially impressive for such a young fullback. They hint at world-class potential, which is why the release clause is so high. Furthermore, Mendes has been dribbled past just 0.6 times per game.

Those numbers mean Nuno Mendes is a young wide defender who has earned a right to be on Real Madrid’s radar. He is not out of place on a list of targets to monitor around Europe, because he could be a good player to develop behind Mendy.

The problem is that he’s less proven and seemingly more expensive than Reguilon, because Sporting Lisbon wisely want to hold onto him until it’s truly a proper time for them to sell the developing defender.

dark. Next. The list of players Real Madrid could part ways with in January

Real Madrid need to get a new left back behind Mendy, but they have a top option available in Reguilon. And they have a young phenom of their own in Miguel Gutierrez, even if he isn’t shining in a first-team like the 18-year-old Mendes is in Lisbon.

Mendes is a player for Madridistas to watch, but he looks more like a future Manchester United or Premier League player than a future star for Los Merengues.