Manchester United could use Alex Telles as a counterpart in an effort to sign Nuno Mendes this summer, according to reports in Portugal.
Telles arrived at Old Trafford on deadline day in October. He was expected to make the left-back role his own. However, a combination of injuries and the form of Luke Shaw has meant there have been few opportunities for the Brazilian.
So far, Telles has made just six starts in the Premier League. His last league appearance came in January.
Under contract until 2024, United will be keen for their summer investment to come good in time. Indeed, they were recently advised by one of their own players that Telles would soon show his worth.
However, reports indicate that they could still consider cutting their losses this summer.
According to Record in Portugal, United are interested in Sporting CP left-back Mendes. There is a possibility that Telles could be sent the other way.
The 28-year-old has plenty of experience of the Portuguese top flight. He previously spent four successful seasons with FC Porto.
Now, there could be a chance for him to make a quick return to Liga NOS. It is claimed that an intermediary – the same one who helped the Red Devils sign Bruno Fernandes – has offered Telles to Sporting if United move for Mendes.
Aged 18, Mendes only made his senior debut last June. However, since then, he has been a regular feature in their starting lineup.
This season, the teenager has made 20 league starts, providing one goal and one assist. Sporting are well aware that his potential could soon see him snapped up by a bigger club.
With that in mind, they tied him down to a big contract last year. Even so, United could still test their resolve.
Even though Mendes has a €70m release clause, they would be willing to do business for €40m if they can have Telles on loan in return. They would also require United to cover some of Telles’ wages in that time.
United, though, are eager to not miss out on Mendes – especially because their rivals Manchester City are also interested.
Fernandes may be their secret weapon, as he supports their pursuit of Mendes. Both players also have the same agent.
There is still work to do, but it seems United could genuinely consider this option.
Telles talks Shaw rivalry
In an honest reflection, the summer signing said that all that mattered was what was working best for the team.
“I’ve always said that, when you’ve got players of the highest quality in the team, then the thing that ends up benefiting is Manchester United; the team,” Telles told the club’s website.
“Since I’ve arrived here, I’ve worked as hard as I can and I’ve done everything I can to show that I deserve to be here. I think I’ve done that.
“At the same time, I’m really happy for Luke Shaw, who has made great progress and has been playing really well. He trains really well and he’s done excellently in the matches as well.
“When you’ve got a situation like that, then the team can only benefit from it. And it’s Man Utd that wins from that [situation].
“In terms of the two of us, we both motivate each other and push each other further forward. We help each other. That’s really, really important throughout the team, independent of the positions we play.”