Real Madrid are reportedly leading Premier League duo Liverpool and Manchester United in the race to sign Portuguese wonderkid Nuno Mendes.

According to reports in English media, as relayed by Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Liverpool and Manchester United could set to face defeat in their pursuit of Sporting Lisbon sensation Nuno Mendes, with Real Madrid leading the race for the teenager.

18-year-old Mendes is a product of the Sporting youth academy and has been on the club’s books since 2011. A left-back by trade, the teenager made his first-team debut for the Portuguese capital club during the post-lockdown period earlier this year. In doing so, he became the second-youngest ever to represent the club behind the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo.

Since then, the teenager, who has largely been used as a wing-back on the left, has gone on to make 19 senior appearances, ten of which have come in the ongoing campaign, with one goal to his name.

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Mendes may have broken into the senior team only a few months ago, but the 18-year-old had registered on Manchester United’s radar much earlier. The youngster’s name had come up as part of negotiations when the Red Devils signed Bruno Fernandes from Sporting back in January this year and have since maintained an interest in him.

The Red Devils are well-stocked in the left-back department following the addition of Alex Telles to the already existing contingent of Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams. However, they have been quite proactive in their youth recruitment under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and adding another promising talent like Mendes with an eye on the future makes sense for United.

Liverpool, too, have registered an interest in Mendes, with Jurgen Klopp believed to be pushing for his signing. Like Manchester United, the reigning Premier League champions don’t have an imminent need of a new left-back with Andrew Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas available at the manager’s disposal.

But the chance to sign someone like Mendes, who has shown great potential at such a young age would be too good to pass up for the Reds. However, if the aforementioned report is to be believed, both Liverpool and Manchester United could be set to be gazumped by La Liga champions Real Madrid in the race for the Portuguese wonderkid.

Unlike the two Premier League giants, Real Madrid will require a new left-back sooner rather than later as Marcelo’s form has been on a decline. With Ferland Mendy the undisputed first-choice for the position now, Los Blancos will need an understudy for the Frenchman, with Marcelo soon turning 33 years old.

While Real Madrid are reportedly looking to bring back Sergio Reguilon from Tottenham Hotspur, Mendes, given his age and potential, is a viable target to replace Marcelo in the long-term.

It is further claimed that the teenage sensation, who has a release clause of €45 million, is also being monitored by PSG and Juventus. However, Real Madrid are said to be best-placed to land Mendes in the near future. It remains to be seen if the La Liga champions do come out on top in the race for the Portuguese Under-21 international.

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