Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Manchester United Keen On Signing This 18-Year-Old Portuguese Left-Back: Right Fit For Solskjaer?

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Pratik Das
The youngest member of The 4th Official and an ardent Premier League fan who is basically obsessed with scouting young talents and is consumed by the idea of finding the perfect number 10.

Recent reports from Portuguese media outlet A Bola suggest that Manchester United are keen on signing Sporting CP left-back Nuno Mendes in the ongoing transfer window as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to add to his options at the back.

Scouting Nuno Mendes: What Makes The 19-Year-Old So Special?

Having come through the ranks at Sporting CP, Nuno Mendes made his professional debut in the month of June last year, thus becoming the second-youngest player to appear for Sporting behind Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo. A string of commendable performances followed, and it saw him emerge as his side’s first-choice left-back ahead of the 2020/21 season.

Manchester United Keen On Signing Nuno Mendes (Nuno Mendes can be seen in the picture)
Five Violin Trophy : Sporting vs Lyon Lisbon, 07/25/2021 – Sporting Clube de Portugal hosted the Olympique Lyonnais tonight at the Alvalade stadium, in a game counting for the 9th edition of the Five Violins Trophy 2021/22. Leo Dubois, Nuno Mendes PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxONLY xFilipexAmorimx

The Portuguese youngster managed to put up some impressive numbers on the board last season, both defensively and offensively, as he averaged 1.7 tackles, 2.1 interceptions, 1.1 clearances, 1.1 key passes, 1.4 crosses, 1.6 long balls, and 1.5 dribbles per 90 minutes in the Portuguese top flight. Nuno’s ability to understand certain in-game situations is far beyond his years, especially when he’s going forward. Besides winning the ball using his sheer strength and power, Nuno doesn’t refrain from bursting forward to dribble past the opposition players and put threatening crosses into the box.

While the youngster’s technique and ball control can be tagged decent, his powerful runs make him a highly advantageous asset as he adds a new dimension to his team’s attack. Last but not least, Nuno’s versatility makes him a more appealing option as it allows him to fill in the conventional left-back, left-sided centre-back positions as well as the contemporary left wing-back position.

The Right Fit For Solskjaer?

Alex Telles suffered a major injury blow in the 2-1 win against Derby County, whereas Luke Shaw is unlikely to be fit for United’s opening game of the season on August 14.

Speaking on Manchester United’s official website, Solskjaer said, “Unfortunately, it’s worse news on Alex Telles than we hoped for.”

“His ankle injury is a little bit more severe than we hoped, and he’ll be out for a little spell at least, the whole of August, I would think.”

As a result, the Norwegian tactician is evaluating the possibility of adding Nuno Mendes to his side ahead of the 2021/22 season. However, having secured two big names already – Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane – it’s quite clear that any further signing will be highly dependent on the departures.

Signing another player (whose release clause is set at €70 million) to cover for an injury loss doesn’t make much sense, given the current circumstances.

Having said that, it remains to be seen if the Red Devils decide to get the 19-year-old prodigy on board; perhaps signing him for the future makes some sense.

(Stats from WhoScored)

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