Thiago Henrique Mendes Ribeiro, better known simply as Thiago Mendes*, is a Brazilian defensive midfielder who signed for Lyon from Lille for €25 million in the summer of 2019.
He was bought to help replace Tanguy Ndombele, who departed for Tottenham that summer. Aged 27 and supposedly approaching the peak of his career, hopes were high that he would reproduce the sort of form that had propelled Lille to a second place finish in Ligue 1 the previous season.
However, he struggled to find consistency during his first few months in Lyon, perhaps struggling to adapt to his new team mates, or perhaps his performances were simply a reflection of the general malaise around the club in the first half of the new season.
He’s an unspectacular player at the best of times, generally sitting in central midfield and playing a holding role. He rarely appears on the score sheet and doesn’t go in for eye-catching crunching tackles or tearing up and down the pitch between boxes.
He prefers to concentrate on a neat and tidy short passing game and is tactically disciplined, never straying too far from his assigned position, but in order to live up to his price tag, he probably ought to be contributing more creatively and chipping in more often with goals and assists.
Thiago Mendes arrived in Europe in 2017 when Lille picked him up for around €9 million from São Paulo and he spent two seasons in the Nord departement. He had previously been playing in the Brazilian Serie A for two and a half years with São Paulo, who had acquired him from Goiás at the start of 2015.
Goiás had been his first club and he broke into the first team in their 2011 Serie B campaign. The following year he helped them to promotion to Serie A as Serie B winners and enjoyed two subsequent Serie A seasons with the club, picking up a couple of Goiás state championships along the way before his first transfer.
*Not to be confused with Tiago Cardoso Mendes, the Portuguese international midfielder who played for Lyon between 2005 and 2007.