What are Real Madrid getting in Ferland Mendy?

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If Real Madrid’s signing of Luka Jovic, which was completed on Tuesday, has appeared inevitable for weeks if not months, the imminent arrival of Ferland Mendy (£0.89) from Lyon will perhaps come as a little more of a surprise.

The French side have once again shown their negotiating prowess to secure a reported initial fee of €48 million for the two-time capped international player, with a further €5m to potentially follow in bonus payments.

Lyon have officially denied that a deal has yet been completed, but Real Madrid will get their man.

In just four seasons as a professional, he has graduated from the Le Havre academy, where Paul Pogba (£7.26) and Riyad Mahrez (£0.80) are other notable alumni, to the biggest club in the world, propelled into an elite status by becoming one of the 10 most expensive defenders ever.

“It’s true that everything’s happened very quickly since Le Havre, but I tell myself that it must go quicker!” he previously admitted to France Football.

Little wonder that he feels he has no time to waste, having been released from Paris Saint-Germain as a youth player due to chronic hip problems that prevented him from playing for a year and even threatened to force him to quit the game.

Each opportunity for the 23-year-old is one that must be grasped, and he has made a habit of successfully doing so.

In just two years at Lyon, he has established himself as the club’s premier left-back, and in the eyes of many over the last 12 months he has become the outstanding player in his position in Ligue 1. Indeed, there is even an argument to suggest he should be the regular in that role for France.

Certainly, he has all the attributes to make him an exciting addition to the Real Madrid squad. He possesses the swashbuckling offensive attitude of legendary Blancos full-backs like Roberto Carlos but is a more balanced defensive player in the mould of Marcelo, who at 31 has limited time left at the top level.

Mendy, though, is just arriving at that standard after difficult beginnings and surely has a long career ahead of him at the pinnacle of the game.

He is an ideal player in an offensively minded team, capable of flying down the flank and providing a telling offensive contribution, with his ability to play off both feet especially impressive and a characteristic that can give him the edge on rivals.

Against Manchester City in the Champions League, he amply displayed these attributes as OL scored a stunning 2-1 success at the Etihad Stadium, and was equally effective in the return game, which finished 2-2.

He then played a major role in shutting down Lionel Messi (£4.80) and Barcelona in the last 16 as Lyon secured a home 0-0 draw, although there was defensive immaturity evident in the return match, in which Bruno Genesio’s side were schooled 5-1. Perhaps a little leeway should be given to him upon that evening, in which he played as a wing-back, due to the fact he was carrying a muscular injury that kept him out for the next five weeks.

“He’s the Kylian Mbappe (£5.64) of the left-back role,” agent Yvan Le Mee told France Football. “Contrary to popular belief, the left-back position is the most requested after that of a striker because they’re very difficult to find.

“Mendy is good offensively and defensively, which is very rare. Balanced guys, who are exciting going forward and very strong at the back, are very rare. At his age, there’s no-one better.

“Apart from Andy Robertson (£1.14), who won’t move from Liverpool, there’s no such talented player in that role available, especially as Lucas Hernandez has a different profile.”

Real Madrid are set to move into a new era over the summer, in which Eden Hazard is liable to become the posterboy to finally replace Cristiano Ronaldo (£2.90), yet their metamorphosis will stretch beyond the Belgian and Jovic (£2.41).

Indeed, the signing of Mendy is perhaps the greatest indication yet that Zidane is building a new ultra-attacking, ultra-attractive side that will play in the great tradition of Los Blancos.

Mendy may not be a household name yet, but if he continues to show the attitude and improvement that has seen his career skyrocket over the last four years, that recognition is only a matter of time.


About Author

A football journalist specialising in the French and Scottish game, Robin has been writing professionally for over a decade. His career highlights include attending World Cups in Brazil and Russia, and Euro 2016 in France.

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