After a turbulent season between the sticks, Chelsea look set to sign some competition for Kepa this summer. The man to provide this and the latest player on their massive summer spending spree is Senegalese keeper Edouard Mendy. After a pretty rapid rise to fame, it’s fair to say a lot of people won’t know too much about Mendy, so we’ve written this to help Chelsea fans know what to expect.
Mendy began his professional career at AS Cherbourg in the third tier of French football. He spent three years there, making 28 appearances, before his contract expired. This left Mendy at a crossroads in his career and at the age of 22, he found himself unemployed and strongly considering quitting football altogether. He decided against this in the end, in favour of returning to Le Havre, the first youth academy he joined as a youngster. Whilst back at Le Havre, he got his head down and trained hard for a year without playing and also without being paid. After putting in the hours, his perseverance paid off as a former teammate informed him that Marseille were looking for another keeper with two of their reserve keepers currently out on loan. Following this, Mendy managed to secure a trial at Marseille where he impressed sufficiently to earn himself a contract. Despite finally managing to get his foot in the door at a club, the Senegalese found himself the club’s fourth choice keeper and occasionally representing Marseille’s B team. It wasn’t a completely useless exercise however, as Mendy was training with professionals such as experienced French keeper Steve Mandanda amongst others. Mendy actually claims his time at Marseille was vital for his professional development and interestingly, claims that competing for duels in the air with none other than Steven Fletcher (!) helped him learn how to command his box.
After learning what he could at Marseille, French-born Mendy decided to search for pastures new that could offer him some more football. This came in the form of Ligue 2 side Reims. He wasn’t initially signed as the club’s first choice keeper but following a red card to Johann Carrasso, he found himself thrust into the first team and he never looked back. Mendy was able to cement his place in a team for the first time in his career as he recorded an impressive three clean sheets in his first seven games. This was just the beginning as he began to progress as a player and was a key part in Reims finishing the 2017/2018 season as Ligue 2 champions and earning promotion in the process.
After three years and 80 appearances at Reims, his performances weren’t going unnoticed and he completed a move to Rennes in August 2019. Shortly before this he also made his debut for Senegal but has still only managed to win 8 caps due to a few injuries. Despite being a late bloomer, Mendy’s career really started to accelerate after this move as people finally began to sit up and take notice of the lanky shotstopper. In an extremely successful season that ended in Rennes securing Champions League football, Mendy recorded 9 clean sheets and a string of impressive performances.
The cousin of Real Madrid’s Ferland Mendy, Edouard looks like he’ll become Chelsea’s next main man at Stamford Bridge after Petr Cech publicly announced he was a big fan, something Chelsea fans should be very excited by. At a massive 6 foot 6, Mendy is a very tall keeper and therefore it will come as no surprise that he commands his box very well. His confident style means he is able to come and collect crosses with ease, something that is definitely in his favour over current stopper Kepa. For such a big man, Mendy is extremely light on his feet and also very athletic. The only potential criticism you could level at the 28-year-old would be that sometimes he parries shots into dangerous areas. This could be something that he is simply yet to improve and at just 28, he still has time work on this part of his game. From watching his saves, his technique strikes me as a little different from other keepers as he anticipates the movement of the ball really well, meaning his positioning for shot stopping is excellent, however, this could be why he occasionally parries the ball into strange areas as his body is already in the way of the shot, so he doesn’t need to dive as far. Despite this, his technique and anticipation does seem to work massively in his favour when faced with low shots into the corners where he boasts excellent handling and athleticism to get down to shots in time.
Overall, it’ll be very interesting to see how Mendy fares in the Premier League if Chelsea can get the deal over the line after reportedly not being willing to spend more that £25m. Rennes fans and players will be sad to see their man leave but after securing him for just £3.5m from Reims, he can be considered an excellent bit of business.
Chelsea fans – do you think Mendy will be a hit at Stamford Bridge? Let us know in the comments!