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NXGN star Mendes reacts to Man City & Liverpool links as Sporting brace for bids

8:13 AM EDT 6/1/21
Nuno Mendes Sporting CP 2020-21
The teenage defender is aware of the speculation he continues to generate, but claims to be paying little attention to it

Nuno Mendes is aware of the rumours linking him with Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United, but the Sporting starlet is paying little attention to the speculation.

The 18-year-old left-back, who made the Goal NXGN list for 2021, has been catching the eye of leading clubs across Europe.

A high-profile transfer is expected to form part of his short-term future, but the youngster is eager to avoid making that leap too soon when there is still so much for him to learn.

What has been said?

Quizzed on the interest being shown in him by Record, Mendes has said: "I have to improve a lot, I'm not a perfect player yet, far from it, I still have a lot to improve. 

"Now I can't say what I have to improve, but I have a lot to improve, I'm still young and I have a lot to learn. 

"I am not an elite player but I am working for that and I started to realise that I had to do things more rigorously from the juniors onwards. 

"From then on I was always a strict player in training and games, all of this was important to me and I am being rewarded. Now it has to continue."

He added on the rapid progress made to this point: "It is the result of my work and that of my Sporting colleagues who have helped me a lot since training until now.

"My colleagues help me a lot and I like that. I like to learn and listen and this is important for a player."

The bigger picture

Mendes took in 35 appearances for Sporting in the 2020-21 campaign and has been named in Fernando Santos' 26-man Portugal squad for this summer's European Championship.

He is about to step into another prominent shop window, but the youngster maintains that no thought is being given to making an imminent move elsewhere.

The talented teenager has added: "I’m a Sporting player and I’m going to continue to be so I’m not thinking about that.

"I’m more focused on the Euros and helping out the team."

Mendes is said to have a £61 million ($87m) release clause in his contract, although the general consensus is that any suitors could get him for less than that if a transfer scramble were to be sparked.

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