We are going to look at some Benjamin Mendy transfer news from the transfer window. The French left back joined Manchester City on a 5 year deal from Monaco for £52mil, a world record transfer fee for a full back. He was very impressive for Monaco last season but then I guess he should have been for that price. Mendy has recently suffered a serious knee injury so there’s doubts he’ll play again this season.
Nonetheless we take an in depth look at the full back, going forward and beyond this season.
Nationality: 4 caps
Position: left back or left wing back
Transfer Fee: £52mil
Contract Length: 5 years
2016/17 League Stats: 24 starts (1 sub appearance) 0 goals (5 assists)
2017/18 League Stats: 4 starts (0 sub appearances) 0 goals (1 assist)
Mendy had looked good in the few appearances he has made for Man City so far. The quality of his crossing has been impressive and has given the City attack, along with Kyle Walker, a dimension they had been lacking from out wide. Not since Zabaleta was in his prime a few years ago have City really had such a threat from full back.
The width provided by the full backs this season has helped City as a whole going forward, stretching opposition defences and giving their attackers and play makers more space to operate. They have exploited this to devastating effect so far this season.
Investing in top quality full backs was a smart move by Pep. even if he did have to pay extortionate amounts for them. It was an area City needed strengthening with Kolarov, Zabaleta, Clichy and Sagna all aging. The position is becoming more and more important in modern football with so much more expected from the role in an attacking sense as well as defensively.
It was therefore a massive blow to City when Mendy was ruled out with knee ligament damage in the victory against Crystal Palace. Early suggestions are it could mean the end of his season before it barely started.
Mendy and the rest of the City defence haven’t really been tested yet this season. So whilst Mendy looks good going forward, we are yet to see him really have to defend.
Defensively there’s still question marks over Mendy though which are evident from his time in France. His positioning and concentration isn’t great, nor his decision making. His sense of danger is also not the best and that is even more difficult to learn.
Mendy is going to need to work on his defensive qualities, especially for harder examinations in Europe. At 22 years old he’s a good age though and has the time and environment to help him improve.
The injury is also a personal blow to Mendy’s international aspirations with it being World Cup year. Mendy had a great chance to establish himself as France’s starting left back. Lucas Digne has been playing second fiddle to Jordi Alba at Barcelona, basically ever since he arrived. Whilst another ex-Monaco full back, Kurzawa would have also likely been behind Mendy in the pecking order had City’s new man been fit. Technically there’s not a lot in it between France’s options at left back but Mendy provides a much bigger physical presence than his counterparts. His strength and power sets him a part.
Having sold Kolarov to Roma and released Clichy to Istanbul Basaksehir, City did look light in the left full back position and exposed if anything happened to Mendy. The worst has of course happened with his injury but I have to admit I was not expecting Fabian Delph to fill in, let alone make such an impact in the position.
Admittedly it’s only been a handful of games so far and he’s still far from a proven, natural option but the early signs are positive. Delph looks like he has reinvented himself and possibly saved his City career. Mendy would be a big lost to any team with his physicality on the flank but City seem capable of coping, at least in the short term. Back up right back Danilo is also able to play on the left if needed. So a position which looked to be lacking any depth at the start of season now seems to have reasonable cover.
Monaco clearly got a great price. Defenders rarely go for the big money, especially on the continent. Whilst they look to have kept the conveyor belt turning with another good prospect ready to step in. 21 year Brazilian Jorge was signed in January from Flamengo. Monaco were likely already planning for Mendy’s departure.
Jorge looks like the first choice left back this season already and Monaco’s impressive scouting network has uncovered another potential gem at the fraction of the price Mendy was sold for. Unsurprisingly, physically he’s not in Mendy’s league but technically he looks just as good.
It does say a lot about the transfer market and how much clubs like Man City are being held to ransom when a full back, who is far from the finished article and has significant room to improve, especially defensively, commands a price of over £50mil. Defending is still the bread and butter for any full back.
I doubt many other clubs, even if they were capable, would be willing to spend so much on Mendy. Monaco knew Man City were desperate. Monaco have shown good negotiation skills this summer and more than any club, have really taken advantage of the financial power of Premiership clubs.
In Europe especially, the lost of so many players has taken a toll for Monaco but they have found a lot of top young talent to fill the gaps so it looks like nothing more than a transitional period (although PSG are always going to be a big problem domestically).
The problem with investing so much in one player is that if injury occurs, the financial repercussions are significant. With Mendy’s season ending injury, effectively 1 year of his 5 year deal is written off. That’s the risk. City can afford it but it doesn’t help make the transfer look any better.
Mendy is a top full back and there’s few better in world football offensively. He has a lot of potential to keep improving too. Man City could have signed a player, in Mendy, capable of being a mainstay of their team for the best part of the next decade. If that ends up happening, the price will be soon forgotten.
Is Mendy a good buy? Is he worth £52mil? Leave a comment.