Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s time at Cardiff City might have come to an end under a cloud, but he will still always be remembered by the Bluebirds for helping them get into the Premier League in 2018.
Cardiff secured the signature of Mendez-Laing on a free transfer from Rochdale in the summer of 2017 as Neil Warnock set about building a side that could be capable of challenging for promotion from the Championship during the 2017/18 campaign.
Having fired home eight goals in 39 League One appearances for Rochdale in League One during the 2016/17 season. It seemed that the attacker would be ready to potentially make the step up to the Championship. However, there would have also been some doubts over the amount of impact he could have for Warnock’s side.
In the end, Mendez-Laing proved to be an excellent addition to the squad for Cardiff during that 2017/18 season. The attacker managed to add real directness to the final third for the Bluebirds, and he was a constant threat for Warnock’s side as they pushed for automatic promotion to the Premier League.
In total, Mendez-Laing managed to fire home six goals and provided five assists in his 38 appearances for the Bluebirds to play a massive role in helping them eventually secure promotion back to the top-flight against the odds.
The following season, Mendez-Laing’s importance to the side remained high in the Premier League and he managed to prove he could be a threat at the highest level. That saw him fire home four goals in his 20 top-flight appearances, but that was not enough to keep Warnock’s side in the league.
The 29-year-old was an important player for Cardiff during the 2019/20 season in their first season back in the Championship despite them changing managers midway through the campaign.
The attacker managed to make 27 appearances and 21 starts in which time he score three times and provided four assists to help the Bluebirds reach the play-offs.
However, in September 2020 Mendez-Laing was allowed to leave Cardiff due to what was reported as a breach of contract.
It was a disappointing end to what had been largely a good spell for him at the Cardiff City Stadium and it took him a few months to find a new club following his exit from the Bluebirds.
In February, Mendez-Laing was reunited with Warnock as he signed a short-term deal with Middlesbrough until the end of last term. The attacker took some time to make an impact at the Riverside, but he was eventually able to come into the side mostly from the bench.
The winger made nine appearances in total for Boro in the Championship, two of which came from the start, and in that time he scored one goal for them against Stoke City in a 3-0 win.
That was not enough to help Warnock’s side reach the play-offs and they were forced to settle for a top ten finish instead.
Despite making a bit of an impact for Boro, Mendez-Laing was released by them in the summer as Warnock pursued other targets ahead of a return for the winger. Therefore, he has remained as a free-agent up until this stage in the 2021/22 campaign.
Things could change in that department imminently though with the winger on trial at Sheffield Wednesday, where he is attempting to earn a deal for the rest of the campaign.
That comes with Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore having admitted that he has been wanting to take a look at him on trial to see if he can offer something different for his side.