Sporting CP have reportedly rejected a £19 million bid from Liverpool in pursuit of Nuno Mendes, who is also courted by Manchester United.
According to various reports in Portugal, as relayed by The Sun, Sporting CP have stepped up their efforts to keep hold of their star player Nuno Mendes amid interest from Manchester and Liverpool. The Portuguese outfit have already rejected a £19 million offer from the English champions.
In an attempt to fend off other clubs trying to secure the services of Mendes, Sporting are now looking to offer the youngster a new contract that could triple his wages. The renewal may also include a staggering £63 million release clause, with the player reportedly even agreeing to the extension.
It does not bode well for a Liverpool side, who are desperate to add defensive reinforcements in the upcoming January transfer window. The Reds have been extremely unlucky with injuries this season, especially after their star player Virgil van Dijk picked up an ACL injury during the Merseyside derby.
In addition, Joe Gomez is currently out injured as well while Joel Matip has had his problems with a number of injuries, giving Jurgen Klopp no option but to start youngsters like Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips at times. The interest in Mendes, though, is a tad bit surprising, considering Liverpool signed another left-back in Kostas Tsimikas this past summer to be backup to Andrew Robertson.
Having said that, while he is a left-back by trade, the 18-year-old can provide cover for not only one but two positions, as the youngster can also operate as a centre-back. His tall 1.84m frame makes him an ideal presence at the heart of the backline, which is why other clubs like Manchester United have also been linked with the Sporting CP sensation.
Although the Red Devils have not had too many issues with injuries this season, there has been a lack of consistency in the performances of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof. As a result, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might be keen on adding a bit of competition in central defence, with Mendes emerging as an ideal option.
The 18-year-old can also compete with the likes of Luke Shaw and Alex Telles while his defensive skills make him a natural in the three-man system where he can effortlessly occupy the role of the left-sided, pendulating centre-back.
However, it appears Sporting CP are determined to keep hold of their defensive asset. And at the age of just 18, it won’t be surprising to see the Portuguese outfit succeeding in doing so, which could thus force the two Premier League giants to shift their attention elsewhere as we near the start of the January transfer window. Who will Liverpool and Manchester United target next?