The interest in talisman Mendieta is nothing new as the Argentine has previously been linked with both Downs and Kaizer Chiefs, but SABC Sport can now reveal the reigning DStv Premiership champions are favourites to sign him.
As reported by the public broadcaster on Thursday, the Brazilians failed to agree terms with Haashim Domingo with his deal coming to an end later this month, with focus immediately shifting towards bringing in Mendieta as a replacement.
The player’s agent, Lance Davids of Football First, confirmed a discussion led by sporting director Flemming Berg was fruitless.
Sundowns are now ready to bid for Mendieta, who had a phenomenal season, helping Stellies to a sixth-place finish on the Premiership table last month.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old scored 10 goals and managed nine assists in 31 games across all competitions for the Cape Winelands outfit.
Those numbers and his overall contribution is what has attracted Sundowns, although the logic to sign a player two years younger than Domingo and spend an enormous transfer figure to get him will be questioned.
Stellies recently tied Mendieta down on a long-term contract, after he joined them on loan from Lanus in his native country back in 2021.
It’s understood Mendieta has a buy-out clause, which isn’t likely to cost below R10-million for any suitors to lure him away from his current employers.
But Downs also have the option of sweetening the deal by offering cash plus players in exchange, with a few of their out-of-favour stars such as Lesedi Kapinga and Gift Motupa, and a number of loan returnees, also available to bargain with.
SABC Sport understands talks with Stellies have advanced, but no deal has yet been concluded at this stage.