AS Monaco’s rise to prominence this season has been aided by effective management on and off the pitch as well as youthful, talented individuals performing to the best of their abilities. One of those players for the Principality club has been French full-back Benjamin Mendy, who has been a revelation at the left wing, forming an impressive partnership with the equally-gifted Thomas Lemar. The duo have propelled their side to the top of Ligue 1, as they look for their first top-division title since 2000.
They’re also in the final of the Coupe de la Ligue, Round of 16 in the Coupe de France and, impressively, have made it to the knockout rounds of the Champions League, where they’ll take on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Guardiola himself has been a huge admirer of Monaco’s Mendy and according to the Mirror and ESPN FC, he’s set to swoop in for the full-back in the summer, after getting a closer look at him in the two-legged Champions League tie, as he looks to solve the Etihad outfit’s problems at the back.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 19, 2017
Aleksander Kolarov and Gael Clichy have often traded that spot over the course of the season, with none being able to perform well enough to nail down a permanent name on the team-sheet, while Kolarov has also played in the centre of defence as Guardiola often experimented with three at the back. Only Liverpool (30) have conceded more goals than City (28) in the Premier League’s top six and that has been a large factor behind the club’s inconsistency in challenging for the league title.
What City are getting, if they do sign Mendy, is a brilliant, competent footballer with endless energy levels, who is equally as good going forward as he is while protecting his own net. His consistency has earned high praise this season and still being at only 22 years of age, he’s got a bright future ahead of him. His 23 appearances this season have seen him rack up seven assists and he has proven himself powerful dribbler and keen crosser of the ball down the left-wing. He would form a fantastic partnership with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Nolito down the flanks, should he move to Eastlands in the near future.
In only 17 Ligue 1 games this season, Mendy’s numbers give an idea as to how good he is. His 30 tackles, 29 interceptions and 59 clearances are one of the best for full-backs in France and his impressive left boot will be a major asset to teams in the Premier League. But while his positives form a fine image of him, some of his negative attributes will be well in mind of the Premier League’s top managers. Mendy is quite impatient when going into a challenge and commits several fouls over the course of 90 minutes. Five yellow cards and one sending-off this season sees him being one of the league’s most ill-disciplined players.
Should Mendy move from France to England this summer, it will be his second move in as many years. The former France under-21 international joined Monaco from Marseille last summer, having played just over a hundred times, and also represented Le Havre before that – a club esteemed for producing top quality talent.
Manchester City look to be in pole position for Mendy’s signature, but their cross-town rivals, Manchester United are also in the hunt for a long-term solution to their problems at the back, and they reportedly targeted the Frenchman back in January. Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo haven’t met Mourinho’s demands while Luke Shaw’s injury problems, as well as his incompetence to satisfy has new boss has kept him down the pecking order, even behind Matteo Darmian, who usually operates on the opposite flank.
A move in the near future seems likely and the best scouts in England and Europe will be keeping a keen eye on the UEFA Champions League clash between Manchester City and AS Monaco as they look to get a better idea as to what they are hoping to sign.