Manchester City have denied interest in Nuno Mendes, but links won't go away
Manchester City have denied interest in 19-year-old Nuno Mendes, but links to the Sporting left-back are not going away.
Rumours out of Portugal began circulating in March about City making enquiries for a summer transfer for highly-rated Nuno Mendes, with the full-back's €70million release clause mentioned in reports, along with City having Pedro Porro as a negotiating piece.
City signed Porro from Girona in the summer of 2019, and immediately loaned the right-back to Real Valladolid for the 2019/20 season. The 21-year-old joined Sporting the following summer on a two-year loan deal with a purchase option – going on to impress considerably in his first season, helping the side to their first league title in 19 years.
As relayed by Sport Witness, those reports from Record in Portugal described the one-cap Spain international as an 'ace' up City's sleeve in negotiations for Mendes. The Liga Nos side reportedly saw this as a chance of getting Porro for a discounted price.
Rumours linking Mendes with City continued through the rest of the month and the early stages of April before resurfacing on May 14th, where Portuguese journalist Goncalo Lopes claimed that City had already made initial contacts with Mendes' agent Miguel Pinho and wanted to learn whether Sporting would be willing to sell the full-back in the summer.
Lopes informed that while Sporting had not given City an exact figure, they insisted they intended to break the club's transfer sale record, which is currently the sale of Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United for a reported initial fee of £46.6million.
It was added that a Sporting source had told Mail Sport, who Lopes was writing for, that the club's president Frederico Varandas was willing to play hardball over the left-back and would only let him leave if City were to pay his €70million release clause.
Lopes then detailed that City were planning to offer a total package of €60million, which included an initial £44.3million (roughly €51.36million) plus Porro, who the Portuguese side were unwilling to include in a deal for Mendes.
The journalist ended his report by writing that City were yet to make a formal offer for the Portugal international but were expected to do so in the weeks that followed with Pep Guardiola said to be a huge fan, and the player keen on a move to England.
However, later that day, City briefed that they're not interested in signing Mendes.
This didn't stop Portuguese papers linking the player to City over the next weeks, though, with claims varying from City being ahead in the race or having reserved funds for the signing.
Yet, reports in England had a completely different complexion, with The Athletic and the Manchester Evening News both weighing in on the topic last month.
Dom Sheldon and Tom Worville of The Athletic stated City are paying extremely close attention to the left-back but were more likely to move for him next summer, with the club exploring the possibility of signing Harry Kane this summer in a big-money deal.
In a piece discussing the left-back position, Simon Bajkowksi of the Manchester Evening News reported that signing another left-sided full-back remains an option but moves costing a significant amount for Mendes or even someone like Fulham's Antonee Robinson, who was linked to the club by Alan Nixon of The Sun, which would cost a fraction of the fee Mendes would command, ruled out – leaving Oleksandr Zinchenko set to start the season as the first-choice left-back.
Today, Fabrizio Romano reports City are interested in signing the teenager, who the club consider to be a top left-back for the future – but the board have no intention of paying Sporting their €50million price tag. Romano adds that the Liga Nos champions are unwilling to accept proposals of around €30million as of today.
WHAT THIS ALL MEANS
The constant talk out of Portugal regarding Mendes' future before the European Championships was likely his agent, who also represents Bruno Fernandes, drumming up interest in the player - similar to what happened with the former Sporting midfielder in 2019 when he was linked with Guardiola's side, with the club eventually denying interest after heavy speculation.
City have probably considered signing Mendes with the left-back thought of as having immense potential combining his attacking quality with defensive ability. However, given the big-money pursuits of Kane and Jack Grealish, the impressive performances of Zinchenko last season – particularly in the latter stages of the Champions League, and the difficulty in offloading Benjamin Mendy – it's likely City have iced their interest in the Sporting left-back for now, potentially revisiting the case next summer should the player remain available.
Written by: @NA1907_
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