Sporting CP want to put a definitive end to the hopes of Arsenal and Liverpool in their pursuit of Nuno Mendes, according to reports.
Mendes emerged as a target for the two Premier League clubs during the summer transfer window. Having burst onto the scene after making his senior debut in June, the left-back has continued to show his potential.
Liverpool reportedly made an enquiry about the player before signing Kostas Tsimikas instead. That prompted Sporting to raise the youngster’s release clause to €45m.
However, a fresh link with Liverpool emerged even after that. With Mendes also capable of playing at centre-back, his versatility made him an attractive proposition to Jurgen Klopp.
Arsenal also apparently made an approach for the player, while Manchester United were another potential suitor.
Now, Sporting could raise Mendes’ release clause even further. According to A Bola, the Portuguese club have identified three players they want to keep away from the clutches of bigger clubs.
Sporting are preparing new contracts for Mendes, Goncalo Inacio and Matheus Nunes. All three have attracted interest from top European clubs and have the same €45m release clause.
Mendes set for wage hike
They are now in line to receive higher salaries in an effort to convince them to stay. Their release clauses will all also be on the increase.
That will make it harder for other clubs to prise them away, as Sporting will have a stronger hand in negotiations.
Whether the Premier League clubs retain an interest remains to be seen. Liverpool added Tsimikas to their squad, while United brought in Alex Telles on deadline day.
As for Arsenal, they already have Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and Sead Kolasinac capable of playing down the left flank.