Leicester City have been linked with a move for Sporting Lisbon left-back Nuno Mendes as the upcoming transfer window approaches.
What’s the story?
According to Sky Sports, the Foxes are interested in acquiring the teenager’s services over the summer as Brendan Rodgers looks to address his left-back conundrum.
The report added that Leicester are eyeing up moves for Atalanta’s Robin Gosens and Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand to replace the departing Christian Fuchs.
Rodgers needs him
With Fuchs calling time on his six-year stay at the King Power Stadium and the highly-rated James Justin set for an extended stay on the treatment table, bringing in some competition for sole left-back Luke Thomas must be one of Rodgers’ top priorities.
Despite being just 18 years old, Mendes has attracted the attention of some of the continent’s biggest clubs this season after a string of impressive performances. The youngster started 29 Liga NOS games for Sporting in 2020/21 as the capital club won their first top-flight title in 19 years, earning a magnificent 7.24 WhoScored rating for his exploits.
While the purchase of Gosens or Bertrand would also be a sensible and logical option for the Midlands outfit, neither seems as exciting as Mendes.
His potential is astronomical, and Leicester’s ability to buy young talent for relatively cheap prices before developing them and selling them on for huge profits makes the Portugal under-21 international an ideal transfer target.
Rodgers undoubtedly needs a left-back this summer, and Mendes is surely at the top of his wish list. Sporting president Frederico Varandas couldn’t hide his admiration for the academy graduate last year, claiming that Mendes has a big future in the senior Portuguese national team, for whom he has already won three caps.
“Nuno Mendes is dazzling. I have no doubt that he will be the future left-back of the (Portuguese) national team,” he said [via Leicester Mercury].
Although his arrival would ultimately leave Leicester with two teenage prodigies as their only natural left-sided defenders, the potential positives outweigh the risks which would be attached to his arrival.
It’s not often that Rodgers has splashed huge sums of money on individual players during his time at the King Power, but breaking the bank for the £22.5m-rated Mendes (Transfermarkt) is certainly a gamble worth taking.
Securing his signature would be a masterclass from the Foxes’ director of football Jon Rudkin, given the level of competition for the precocious Portuguese prospect.