According to reports from the Independent early on Monday morning, Manchester City are seemingly growing ever closer to securing a deal for Monaco’s young left-back Benjamin Mendy.
It is understood that the 22-year-old French international is close to making the switch over from France to England with the Premier League side finally prepared to meet the £50 million asking price.
And boss Pep Guardiola is reportedly keen to finalise a deal before City jet off for their pre-season tour of America at the beginning of next week, with only minor details and a medical to be sorted.
Is Mendy the right man to help City progress?
It’s fair to say that Pep Guardiola didn’t quite enjoy the success that has followed him through his managerial career last season, ending a season trophy-less for the first time ever.
Finishing third in the Premier League, allied with an FA Cup semi-final defeat and a Champions League quarter-final exit, shows that it was a case of ‘so near yet so far’ last season, and it’s not a surprise to see the Spaniard waste absolutely no time in making some key additions this window.
With the arrival of Kyle Walker unveiled last Friday, the impending announcement of Mendy would give a huge – and clear – indication as to how Guardiola will set his side up at the start of the season.
After playing with a back-four of Gael Clichy, Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho during the closing stages of the season, bringing in the likes of Walker and Mendy would most likely mean that Guardiola will revert back to a three-man defensive system, with his new arrivals operating as wing-backs.
In a bursting squad that contains the likes of Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin de Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling – as if it wasn’t attacking enough – the new additions of both full-backs adds even more directness and potency to City’s play in the final third.
But there is far more to Mendy’s play on the pitch than just a forward player. He has developed his defensive prowess in a surprisingly successful Monaco outfit, as he helped them to the Ligue 1 title.
Strong in the tackle, quick enough to recover and return to the defensive line, yet still intelligent enough to know when to dive in and when to sit back, he looks a hugely promising talent.
Yet it is his confidence on the ball, and his ability to drive out of defence and push forward, that would have turned Guardiola’s head – in a sense, there is almost a bit of Jordi Alba about his style of play.
Whilst the early additions of Bernardo Silva and Ederson Moraes have been a little bit of unknown entities, the arrivals of Walker – and most likely Mendy – show signs of real intent for next season.
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