It's been known for a while now that Manchester City have a desire to further strengthen at left-back, and that's no surprise given the inconsistencies and various Benjamin Mendy-related struggles that they have endured over the past few seasons.
One name that has been ever-present in the transfer rumour mill is 18 year-old Nuno Mendes - Sporting Lisbon's next big thing, and possibly the next big money departure from Portugal as Europe's biggest clubs circle.
Despite Manchester City publicly denying any interest, the links keep coming, and this week, the Athletic have provided a bit of insight into the nature of the interest and how the signing of one player could halt any progress on Mendes for up to 12 months.
According to the Athletic's long-form read the Radar, Manchester City have been paying 'extremely close attention' to the 18-year-old, while they also quote a source who labels the Etihad club's monitoring as being “all over him” in a scouting sense.
While various other reports have linked the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, and Real Madrid with an interest, the Athletic state that Leicester City held an interest, but the financial demands of the Portuguese club would most likely rule them out of the race.
Despite Portuguese media stating that Sporting would hold out for €70 million - which is also the player's release clause - the latest report states that they would more likely be requiring a fee north of €50 million, which may be more attractive to Manchester City as it aligns itself with their usual budgets and spends.
However, left-back isn't the main priority at the Etihad Stadium, with Sergio Aguero's departure meaning that Manchester City are more focused on securing a new name at centre-forward with Harry Kane known to be the number one target.
But the Athletic see the situation slightly differently, writing that it would be 'unlikely' that Manchester City would continue to pursue Nuno Mendes this summer should they sign a big money striker, but could 'look to revisit the situation' in 2022.
Nevertheless, should Nuno Mendes fail to secure that big money move away from Portugal this summer, there remains an expectation that he wouldn't have to wait too long, with the feeling in various quarters being that he is destined for a move to either England, France, or Spain in the near future.
For Manchester City, a failure to sign a new left-back would leave them with their existing options - Benjamin Mendy, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Joao Cancelo as an alternative option and very different look at the left side of a back four.
You can read the full edition of the Radar by the Athletic here.
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