Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Update On Manchester City’s Pursuit Of This Liga NOS Full-Back: What Should Be Guardiola’s Play?

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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 print edition, Record has provided an update on Manchester City‘s pursuit of Sporting CP full-back Nuno Mendes. It is understood that the Portuguese giants have decided to ignore any transfer dealings until they secure UEFA Champions League football for the next campaign, so Man City will have no choice but to be patient if they intend to land the talented youngster during the summer transfer window (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness).

Mendes’ Impressive Rise At The Jose Alvalade Stadium

The Sintra-born prospect has come through the youth ranks of Sporting and has done well to establish himself as a valuable member of Ruben Amorim’s first-team. The 18-year-old has managed to put in some eye-catching displays as the Portuguese club’s first-choice left-back.

Mendes has participated in 25 matches for his current employers this term, registering one goal and one assist in all competitions. The Portuguese starlet has been a positive influence at both ends of the field as he is averaging 1.6 tackles, 2.3 interceptions, 1.2 clearances, 0.5 shots, 0.7 key passes and 1.4 dribbles per game in the Liga NOS this season. He has even distributed possession relatively well after making 78.5% of his attempted passes in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).

The promising youngster’s contributions have helped put Sporting in pole position to secure the league title in Portugal. Mendes is a full-back who will only get better in the coming seasons. Hence, it is no wonder that a top club like Man City are trying to ‘pave the way’ to bring him to the Etihad Stadium if the report from Record is to be believed.

Update on Manchester City's pursuit of Nuno Mendes who is seen in the picture
I Liga: FC Porto vs Sporting CP Porto, 02/27/2021 – Futebol Clube do Porto hosted Sporting Clube de Portugal at Estdio do Drago this evening in a game counting for the 21st round of the I League 2020/21. Nuno Mendes and Francisco Conceio Ivan Del Val / Global Imagens PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxONLY xIvanxdelxValx

What Are The Portuguese Wonderkid’s Best Attributes?

Mendes has proved his worth as a capable defender at the back this season. He possesses the tenacity to win possession back for his team and is often quick to clear the danger when left exposed inside his half. The Portugal Under-21 international has got electric pace in his locker and can complete some dangerous dribbles down the left flank. However, he is yet to showcase his value outside Portugal, so only time will tell whether he can make a seamless transition to Premier League football if Guardiola can get a deal done for him in the summer.

What Should Be Guardiola’s Play?

The Sporting left-back could prove to be an upgrade over Benjamin Mendy, who has flattered to deceive with his performances this season. Plus, Mendes is good enough to rival Oleksandr Zinchenko for a regular starting place at the Etihad Stadium despite his young age.

With all things considered, the Man City boss should be patient and respect Sporting’s decision if the Portuguese club are unwilling to discuss any transfers regarding Nuno Mendes at the moment. However, the Premier League leaders have the finances to pull off a move to sign Mendes when the transfer window reopens later this year. Therefore, Guardiola still has every reason to be optimistic about landing the Portuguese whizkid in the future.

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