Joe Mendes – another gem from AIK academy by Niels Liebens
Date of birth: 31/12/2002 (20 years old)
Team: AIK (Sweden)
Position: right-back, right wing-back
Market value: € 1,2m
Similar type of player: Alphonso Davies
Joe spends most time in his youth career playing for AIK. After moving to Hammarby, only a year later, he decided it’s best to return back home and play for AIK again. As some of you know the Allsvenskan starts in April and ends in October. Featuring in 34 games across all competitions last season he racked up a total of 2569 minutes playing time. This was his first full season in the highest division! Mendes provided 2 goals and 2 assists in those 34 games. He managed 86% of his passing to reach a teammate. 62% of his dribbles were successful. Not bad at all!
Joe Mendes is an offensively-minded player who plays as a right-back. He has a quick-thinking ability and finds spaces easily. He has an enormous engine which results in a lot of rushes down the entire right side of the pitch, as you can clearly see on his heatmap (Wyscout). It makes him a very versatile player.
He is incredibly fast so he can beat anyone with just his pace alone but it doesn’t stop there. His pace combined with his dribbling skills and quick ball movements make him a very good attacker in the first place. Decision making is something most young players struggle with but Joe is good at it, his passing and crossing need to be more precise but the right intentions are always there.
But he plays as a right-back so his defending needs to be spot on as well. He definitely did not disappoint last season on the defensive side. He doesn’t give his opponent the time and space to even catch a breath. He wins 60% of his defensive duels and averages 4 interceptions per 90 minutes. He has some type of explosiveness so he is very hard to beat in 1 vs 1. Reminds me of Clinton Mata (Club Brugge). Although he only weighs 70kg he has a strong body.
He takes the maximum out of his right foot but he isn’t keen on turning to his left which makes him a bit predictable at times. His passing is something he must work very hard on. Both short and long passing, he seems too careless in certain situations which results in him losing the ball too easily.
He is too attacking minded at times which makes him lose touch with his defensive duties. Because he spends most of the time on the opponent’s side of the field, he leaves too much space behind him.
Stats in the Allsvenskan 2022:
45 passes per 90
87% pass accuracy
1.4 key passes per 90
2 big chances created
1.2 successful dribbles per 90
1.7 tackles per 90
60% of all duels won
He currently plays at the right-back position but I think he will be perfect as a right wing-back in a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 system in the future. Where he can fully enjoy taking care of the entire right side. His pace, dribbling skills, and massive energy makes him the ideal player for that position. But he has to still improve on his defensive commitments to become a whole package player later in his life.
The Premier League or the Bundesliga will suit him very well. Although I recommend him to take step by step and move to a smaller competition first where the level is higher than where he’s currently at. Like the Eredevisie or the Jupiler Pro League.