With the winter transfer window in its final week, many clubs across Europe have sprung into action to bolster their squads in key areas. Among them is Liga Portugal side Braga, who are very close to sealing the signing of 20-year-old defender Joe Mendes. The Swedish full-back is regarded as a top young talent and will be joining the Liga Portugal side from AIK in the Swedish Allsvenskan. In 2022, he had his first full season in Sweden’s top division, as he played 24 matches and scored one goal and provided one assist. Joe Mendes also made his full international debut for Sweden in January 2023 in a friendly match against Iceland. Let’s now look at some stats to comprehend why Braga were eager to enlist the services of this Swedish youngster.
Joe Mendes usually plays at right back, but on rare occasions, he can also slot in as the right winger or in central midfield. The viz above shows the percentile rank of the player’s stats compared to other right-backs in the Swedish top flight. Mendes ranks in the top 90.0 percentile for dribbles and in the top 82.0 percentile for accurate passes. Other areas where the young player does well include expected goal contribution, opponent’s penalty area touches, received passes and winning defensive duels and aerial duels.
Joe Mendes is an offensive-minded right back and has the engine to rush up and down the pitch. The viz above shows the player’s heat map from the 2022 season. We can observe that Joe Mendes displays high intensity throughout the right flank. At just 20 years of age, he is an energetic player and constantly moves up and down the pitch, covering a lot of ground on the right side. He averages 0.32 shots per match with 50% accuracy and makes 45.84 passes with an impressive accuracy of 85%. Additionally, he makes 2.8 passes to the final third, 4.48 passes to the penalty area, and 1.21 shot assists per match.
As a right-back, Joe Mendes’ defensive gameplay is his strong suit. From the viz above we can see that his average position along the defensive line is well within his own half. The 20-year-old fullback makes 5.96 recoveries and 3.53 interceptions per match. In addition to that, he commits 1.32 clearances per 90 minutes. Furthermore, he contests 5.91 defensive duels with a win rate of 61.6%. As for aerial duels, the right-back attempts one such contest per match with a 52.6% win rate.
The two visuals above highlight Mendes’ offensive and creative characteristics. He constantly rushes up and down the flank with his speed. He is also capable of making penetrating carries into the penalty box, with 95 such instances seen in the 2022 season. The 20-year-old can take on players with his dribbling skills and can also whip plentiful crosses into the box. Currently, he attempts 3.96 dribbles per match with a 56% success rate and 4.33 crosses per match with a 37.8% success rate. Furthermore, he makes 5.17 progressive runs per match while averaging 1.58 touches in the penalty box.
What will be Joe Mendes’ role at Braga?
At Braga, the Swedish talent could serve as a backup option for the 22-year-old Victor Gomez, who plays at right back. Otherwise, he could replace full-backs like Fabiano Silva and Ze Carlos, who assume the role of squad players currently. Mendes could also prove a starting option on Braga’s defensive line, adding depth and quality to the overall squad.
The viz above compares the performances of Joe Mendes and Fabiano Silva in their respective leagues. It can be observed that both players outperform each other in a few areas, but the Swedish right-back has the overall upper hand on his Brazilian counterpart. Mendes has better stats for goal contribution, dribbles, accurate passes, received passes, and aerial duels won. In comparison to his Swedish counterpart, has appeared in 12 Liga Portugal games and has yet to score a goal. With sound defensive capabilities and attacking prowess on his side, Joe Mendes could ensure himself a starting role on the right side of Braga’s backline.
Joe Mendes’ move to Liga Portugal will mark the next step in his young and promising career. Braga is a well-suited destination for the budding right-back, who has demonstrated an offensive mindset, creativity, as well as the qualities of a reliable defender. With age on his side, he could evolve into a regular member of Braga’s team and develop into his full potential at such a reputed Portuguese club.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine