Monaco left-back on verge of signing for the Blues
Manchester City went through Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge without silverware in 2016-17 but the Catalan coach looks determined to set the record straight as the new Premier League season returns next month.
A blistering start to life in England last term was followed by debilitating inconsistency and the Citizens boss has looked to bolster his squad this summer with some shrewd acquisitions.
The influx of big-money new signings has resulted in Danish odds dropping and City becoming one of the favourites to wrestle the title away from Chelsea in 2017-18.
Guardiola has looked to the European market to bolster his ranks thus far, with Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson Moraes signed at significant expense from Benfica and Bernardo Silva moving from Monaco.
However, it could well be one of the Portuguese schemer’s former club team-mates that makes the most impact next season for City, as the Premier League club close in on a deal for enterprising Monaco left-back Benjamin Mendy.
Full-back was an area of much contention in Guardiola’s ranks last season, with a feeling that the manager did not fully trust the options he had available to him in the squad he inherited.
In the early weeks of the season, the new City boss looked to bring his full-backs into ball-playing positions in midfield and dictate play; a ploy that worked well at Bayern Munich.
However, Guardiola quickly realised that Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy’s limitations left much to be desired, with the French veterans not able to participate in the system that Phillip Lahm and David Alaba excelled in at the Bavarian giants.
As such, City are expected to sign both a right-back and left-back this summer, with the latter position to surely be filled by Mendy.
The 22-year-old was an unsung hero in Monaco’s success last season, with his excellent performances perhaps overlooked in place of the brilliance of Silva, Kylian Mbappe and other attacking stars.
But, Mendy starred in the Principality outfit’s Ligue 1 success and stunning progression to the Champions League semi-finals and showed real consistency in his play.
A dogged defender with good reading of the game, the former Marseille full-back’s first intention is to get forward and attack - something that will resonate with the expansive style Guardiola demands.
Mendy has won a place in the France team after his stunning club form and looks set to be a world star in years to come.
With pace to burn and ability on the ball, the way that City play the game will surely be closer to Guardiola’s blueprint with the 22-year-old at left-back next season.
Instead of being a problem position, the Etihad Stadium side could now boast one of the Premier League’s best widemen.
While the signing of Silva may create more excitement in the fans due to his wonderful technique and attacking vision, Mendy has the potential to be a critical player in the City ranks next season if and when a deal is completed.