Thursday, October 6, 2022

Newcastle United Face Competition From Leicester City For Talented Full-Back: One For The Future?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, The Daily Mail has mentioned that Newcastle United will face competition from Leicester City in pursuit of Sporting CP full-back Nuno Mendes. The Magpies launched enquiries about the player last summer, but a move failed to materialise back then. Now that the Portuguese giants are open to listening to offers below his current £40m release clause, the Tyneside outfit might be tempted to reignite their interest in recruiting the Portuguese whizkid (via The Daily Mail).

Mendes’ Recent Emergence In Portuguese Football

The Portuguese defender has been a regular starter for Sporting CP this season and deserves credit for producing some eye-catching displays on the left side of Rúben Amorim’s first-team. He has participated in nine matches for his current employers this term, netting one goal in the process across multiple competitions.

Mendes has given a good account of himself down the left flank by averaging 1.7 tackles, 3.3 interceptions, 1.1 clearances, 0.7 shots, 1.0 key passes, 1.9 crosses and 1.4 dribbles per game in this Liga NOS campaign. The 18-year-old has also been careful when distributing the ball after completing 82.8% of his attempted passes in the top tier of Portuguese football (stats via whoscored).

The talented teenager has shown a lot of maturity with his performances as Sporting’s first-choice left-back and seems to be thriving with the challenge of featuring for them every week. However, he is still quite raw and would need time to develop into a top talent.

Newcastle face competition from Leicester in pursuit of Mendes who is seen in the photo
Sporting Lisbon’s Portuguese defender Nuno Mendes runs with the ball during the Portuguese League football match between FC Porto and Sporting Portugal at the Dragao stadium in Porto on July 15, 2020. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

What Does The Portuguese Starlet Offer On The Field?

Mendes has proven his worth as a reliable defender as he has already made some essential interceptions and last-ditch clearances for his team. He is blessed with blistering pace, which helps to make some driving runs with the ball down the left-wing.

The Portuguese wonderkid is usually quite adventurous with his runs and is not shy of taking on the opposition defenders to get to the byline so that he can whip in some inviting crosses into the danger area. However, he doesn’t have too much experience at the highest level, so he might need time to settle into Premier League football if Newcastle or Leicester can land him in the future.

Is Mendes A Prospect For The Future?

The way Mendes is playing right now, he is undeniably a player to watch out for in the coming years. The promising left-back will only get better with each season as long as he is willing to work hard towards honing his skills on the training ground. However, only time will tell whether Steve Bruce is good enough to oversee his development and get the best out of him if the Magpies can win the race to acquire his services in January or at the end of this campaign.

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