Liverpool and Manchester United reportedly remain strongly interested in left-back Nuno Mendes, whose club Sporting have set his minimum exit fee.
The full-back only made his breakthrough at the end of last season but has become a vital part of the team.
Indeed, he has played 14 times this term, missing only one Liga NOS game through injury. What’s more, he has operated on the left side in a more advanced role, as opposed to his trademark left-back berth.
Recent reports claimed that Liverpool had a bid rejected for the 18-year-old in the last transfer window. Speculation has also surfaced that United are pondering a deal after watching his progress.
According to Goal‘s Brazil outlet, the two Premier League giants have not retracted their interest.
Indeed, the pair continue to study him closely as he develops with more first-team minutes. Real Madrid have also put the feelers out for a deal.
United have an array of options at left-back, including recent signing Alex Telles. However, Mendes could be being eyed as a future target.
The report also states that, should Sporting enter negotiations over his departure, they would look to earn at least €40million (£36million).
However, as previously reported, the player only recently signed a new deal which expires in 2025 and features a €70million (£63million) exit clause.
As such, the Portuguese giants have set themselves a strong playing field should they enter talks over his exit.
Meanwhile, a former Sporting youth coach spoke to Goal, documenting Mendes’ rise through the ranks.
Mendes’ rise revealed
Mauro de Almeida said: “Nuno was always very introverted, but he did absolutely everything on the field. Everything, everything. It fulfilled everything, but it didn’t stand out.
“It was not irreverent. A Sporting player needs to make a difference early on, because his opponents are more closed.
“At the end of the first season at the club, he was almost dismissed. We even thought about the way out. We just didn’t do it because it was his first year, and we also stopped to think: ‘We have nothing to point out wrong with him’.
“Fortunately, Nuno had a fantastic evolution. He likes to learn, he is very hardworking and respectful.”
Mendes has also risen through his country’s ranks and has four caps for Portugal’s Under-21s, the first of which he earned in September last year.
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