City's Mendy a $92M statement of intent

French international left-back moves for a world record fee as Pep revamps his backline

LONDON • Manchester City announced the signing of Benjamin Mendy from Monaco on a five-year contract yesterday, making him the world's most expensive defender.

The 23-year-old, who joined the French champions from Marseille last summer, has agreed a deal reported to be worth a record £52 million (S$92 million) for a defender.

The French international will link up with his new team-mates in the United States where Pep Guardiola's side are preparing for their second pre-season tour game against Real Madrid in Los Angeles tomorrow.

"I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester City," Mendy said on the club's website (www.mancity.com).

"They are one of Europe's leading clubs and in Pep Guardiola, they have a manager committed to playing attacking football.

"I am sure that over the next few years, we will be successful."

Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker, Real Madrid right-back Danilo and Benfica goalkeeper Ederson are the other players to join a new-look City backline with Mendy's Monaco team-mate Bernardo Silva coming in to bolster the midfield.

French international left-back Benjamin Mendy in action for his country. The ex-Monaco defender was City's No. 1 target in his position and will join new defensive recruits, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Ederson in a much-changed rearguard.
French international left-back Benjamin Mendy in action for his country. The ex-Monaco defender was City's No. 1 target in his position and will join new defensive recruits, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Ederson in a much-changed rearguard. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Walker cost City an initial £45 million with another £5 million due in a year's time and £3 million due in add-ons, according to The Times of London.

That would then make him the world's most expensive defender at £53 million. But for now, the honour belongs to Mendy, with his transfer fee eclipsing the £50 million Chelsea paid Paris Saint-Germain for Brazilian centre-back David Luiz in 2014.

Guardiola was desperate to add Mendy to his full-back options after releasing Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta this summer, but City's original £44.5 million offer was rejected because Monaco wanted a similar amount that City paid for Walker.

The deal took a while, but City's director of football, Txiki Begiristain, was pleased to have secured their first-choice target.

"Benjamin has all the qualities we are looking for in a full-back. For such a young player, he has a wealth of top-level experience," he said. "He is undoubtedly one of the world's best full-backs, our No. 1 target in this position. We are all delighted to have him here at City.

"I'm sure he will prove a fantastic addition to the squad."

Mendy becomes City's fifth major signing of the summer and takes their total spending to more than £200 million.

With the transfer records of defenders being repeatedly broken, Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels said he was pleased that defenders are becoming more valued in recent years.

"Yes it is (a growing recognition), because I think it's so important to have not just good defenders, but defenders that can make the whole team better," the 28-year-old told The Straits Times.

He is in Singapore for International Champions Cup matches against Chelsea and Inter Milan.

"I really like it that there are more teams willing to pay for a good defender because if you work hard and play good (football), it'll always be nice to be acknowledged."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


•Additional reporting by Ian Kiew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'City's Mendy a $92M statement of intent'. Print Edition | Subscribe