Yorkshire Live journalist Dom Howson has revealed Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is a player Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore likes, despite not yet making a move for the 29-year-old.
The winger made his career breakthrough at Rochdale after graduating from Wolverhampton Wanderers’ academy, plying his trade at Spotland between 2015 and 2017 after joining from Peterborough United and recording an impressive 39 goal contributions in 85 competitive appearances at the now-League Two side.
This flawless record earned him a move to Cardiff City in 2017, spending a reasonably successful three years in the Welsh capital before having his contract terminated in September last year after being banned for taking cocaine.
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He looked to get his career back on track after being signed by his former boss at the Cardiff City Stadium in Neil Warnock, linking up with Middlesbrough in February on a short-term contract.
However, the winger was unable to make a big impact at the Riverside during his short stay, scoring one goal and recording a single assist before being released by the Teesside club earlier in the summer.
With another second-tier side yet to come in for him, he could be tempted to drop down to the third tier and join a Sheffield Wednesday side currently sitting at the top of the League One table. As per the Sheffield Star, the Owls are currently weighing up a move for the 29-year-old and Yorkshire Live reporter Dom Howson provided the latest update on this rumour in his Q&A session with the South Yorkshire side’s fans.
He said: “I know he is someone that was mentioned to Wednesday earlier in the summer. I am led to believe that Moore likes him as a player.
“The difficulty with all free agents is how long it will take to get them up to match speed.
“Mendez-Laing, for instance, has not got a pre-season under his belt so you could be looking at anywhere between six to eight weeks to get him fully fit and firing.”
Mendez-Laing would be a great addition in the third tier and on a free transfer, it would be something of a coup. The one main problem, which Dom Howson has already identified, is his fitness.
The prospect of having to wait a couple of months for the 29-year-old to reach full match fitness isn’t going to be an attractive one for manager Darren Moore who will need all of his players to contribute throughout the season if they are to get back to the Championship.
So while the winger does have the ability to create real problems out wide and prove to be a deadly force in front of goal alongside the likes of Josh Windass, Florian Kamberi, Sylla Sow and others in the third tier, taking him on trial at first would be a good idea.
This will allow the Owls to see how far he is away from being fit and how he integrates into the first-team squad at Hillsborough, before finally making a decision on his future.
Wednesday have already signed 13 players this summer, so they need to ensure they hand out further deals wisely to avoid another punishment from the EFL.