As one of the most interesting young full-backs in world football Nuno Mendes has enjoyed a unique rise to stardom. The youngster broke into the Sporting Clube de Portugal team this season, becoming a regular as they won the Portuguese top-flight for the first time in well over two decades. The signing of the player who many consider to be among the best young players in Europe at present, then, has been hotly spoken about. Linked with various teams across Spain, Italy, and England, it now appears Mendes might stay put. Why? Because most teams are not willing to commit to the massive fee.
Despite reports of the fee dropping to around £25m, many reports in Portugal still suggest a fee in excess of £40m would be needed to land Mendes. As such, given he has one full season of top-flight credentials, many teams are not willing to commit the massive funding needed to land the youngster.
As such, it is expected that he will spend another year in Portugal. With the Lions through to the UEFA Champions League groups immediately, though, he will have the chance to star on a major competition under one of the most exciting young coaches in the game today. This offers the player a chance to keep growing and developing, and also provides the top brass of the European game a chance to further evaluate the true level of the player.
Will English teams return for Nuno Mendes?
While bids are expected throughout the summer, the fee has not been reduced as many assumed. The surprise title win and thus UCL qualification means that SCP are not in the usual rush to make a big sale, ensuring that they could perhaps keep Mendes beyond this current season.
However, should the player continue to develop as he did last year then it might be hard for Sporting to keep him hanging around. The sheer quality shown last year would make keeping him behind 2022 seem impossible, but even a slight dip in form could see the club benefit as much as the player.
Unlikely to get regular gametime in England this year, staying in Portugal is now seen as the best opportunity for Mendes. Though the biggest names in Europe are already circling, a chance to play in Europe with a young, exciting team could prove to be the best option for player and anyone else interested in making the player sign in the future.
Though seen as one for the future, his rapid rise to stardom had seen an elevation in opportunity for the youngster. As such, with the fee as high as it is, most teams look set to be disappointed in their ability to land Mendes in 2021.