Real Madrid have set their sights on a long-term successor to Marcelo in the form of teenaged Sporting Lisbon full back Nuno Mendes. The Bernabéu has been scouting the 18-year-old for several weeks with reports being compiled for the attention of Zinedine Zidane and his technical staff as they seek a replacement for the 32-year-old Brazilian, whose form has come under increased scrutiny this season with Ferland Mendy firmly installed as the Frenchman’s first choice at left back.
Marcelo is out of contract in 2022 but many observers feel that this is the long-serving defender’s final campaign at Real Madrid, leading Zidane to seek an heir to the vice-captain after Sergio Reguilón’s move to Tottenham and with little coming through La Fábrica in the left-back stakes to fill the void.
Mendes has been earning plaudits in the Primeira Liga this season for his pace, ability to beat opponents and his work-rate and has cemented his place in Rubén Amorim’s starting XI, starting 13 of 15 games in 2020-21. Sporting are well aware that Mendes has been attracting the interest of Europe’s big spenders and handed the youngster an improved contract before New Year, running to 2025.
However, a release clause of €25m included in that deal is hardly likely to dissuade suitors and Madrid will face competition from Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester United, Inter and PSG.