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Meet Benjamin Mendy, Manchester City’s new boy

By Chinasia Ibonye
24 July 2017   |   10:37 am
Manchester City should complete the £52M purchase of Monaco left back, Benjamin Mendy, later today, and this makes the 23-year-old Frenchman, the most expensive defender in football.

Benjamin Mendy

Manchester City should complete the £52M purchase of Monaco left back, Benjamin Mendy, later today, and this makes the 23-year-old Frenchman, the most expensive defender in football. This move isn’t at all surprising considering the Manchester derby played in the US last week, where it was glaring that City needed a left back. They used Fernandinho and Mangala in that position and were badly exposed by Manchester United.

City lost four full backs in this post season in Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandr Kolarov and Bacary Sagna and have brought in just Kyle Walker and Danilo, who are basically right backs, so it was obvious that after spending a lot of money at right Back, they needed to get a top notch left back to balance the defence. They have now gone all out to get one of the best players in the world in that position and I will be introducing you to the Frenchman and the qualities he will bring into this Manchester City side.

Benjamin Mendy was born on the 17th of July 1994 in Longjumeau, Southern Paris and just like another highly rated French youngster, Paul Pogba, began his career in the academy of second tier side, Le Havre, in 2010, making 57 appearances for the first team before Marseille spotted his talent and came calling in 2013. He made his debut for the French giants the same year, but it was under Marcelo Bielsa the following season that his career really took off. The explosive full-back was made for Bielsa’s brand of fast-paced counter-attacking football and he flourished which earned him a move to Monaco three years later in 2016.

He is a modern day full-back, which means that he is very comfortable attacking other fullbacks or defending against wingers. In Mendy’s case, he’s so good at both that it almost seems as if he enjoys the attacking side of the game more than the defensive side and this is shown in the amount of chances he creates for his team and the assists he provides to scorers. He completed over 55% take on attempts in Ligue 1 last season, which works out at 1.50 per game and shows that he isn’t afraid to venture forward.

He is a very good dribbler of the ball and can whip in dangerous and inviting crosses from the left hand side and with the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero at the receiving end for Manchester City, the crosses will more often than not be converted, and Mendy has proved to be an excellent provider at that. He also possesses great athleticism, a tremendous work rate and can patrol the left flank with efficiency, helping the team in exploiting spaces available in attack. He possesses the mindset of a winger as his first intention when receiving the ball out wide, is generally to drive forward using his pace, power and ball control to leave opponents in his wake.

His defensive abilities have been brought into question in the past, but he’s shown that he’s no slouch at that aspect of his game. He averaged 1.73 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game for Monaco in the league last season and that shows that he is very solid defensively. The fact that he is 6ft 2in helps him in aerial duels and he brings his physicality into play. Clearances and blocks per game have also remarkably improved so one can see the Frenchman is improving in the defensive side of the game. One of the biggest attributes he possesses is his pace and that really helps him in recovering defensively if an attack breaks down.

However, he has to further improve the defensive side of his game, especially his awareness when defending without the ball. He can also be guilty of losing his head sometimes as shown by his disciplinary record with Monaco last season where he received seven yellow cards and three red cards in all competitions with the French side.

In summary, Mendy is an excellent full back, with the potential of becoming the best in the world in his position and this reputation was boosted by his performances last season as he helped Monaco win the French league title and reach the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League. The fact that he is balancing the attacking and defending side of the game shows how well he is maturing into a great full back and he will be an excellent fit for Manchester City.