Real Madrid has become the talk of the town in this transfer window. After keeping the spending relatively low for the last few seasons, they have dug into their vault and are signing players without hesitation. They arguably had the most iconic transfer of the season with Eden Hazard’s signing from Chelsea( now in contention with Griezmann’s move to Barca for sure). All in all, they spent over €300 million and that is taking in the initial amount of money taken to buy Hazard( the transfer is set to reach €130 million with bonuses and would put the total towards €330 million). And the biggest thing to consider is that the transfer window is not at it’s 3rd act yet and Perez and co. have expressed that some business is yet to be conducted.
But let’s take a step back and look at the other transfers: specifically that of Ferland Mendy. The 24 - year - old Frenchman from Lyon signed on to be a part of the Los Blancos for €48 million and the way certain things have unfolded, it seems he will be sitting out very few games in the coming season. The primary reason for this conclusion is Sergio Reguilon’s move to Sevilla. The Spaniard who played 22 games for Real Madrid (14 in the league) has been loaned out to Sevilla.
The Disappointing Season:
It’s common knowledge at this point that Real Madrid’s latest season left a lot to be desired. After Ronaldo was sold to Juventus, the team seemed to lose it’s footing and a sense of complacency was felt from the club’s big name players, one of those big name players being Marcelo. Marcelo was arguably the best full back in the world prior to the 2018-19 season. HIs form took a dip in the most recent season as he didn’t present that same level of ferocity, pace, speed, stamina and general attacking prowess his name had become synonymous with. A lot of people are rightfully concerned that the left back might be beginning to show his age(he’s 31 at the moment) scoring 2 goals and 2 assists in 23 matches. This was why Reguilon was brought in and while he was not exactly the discovery of the decade, he did perform well across his 14 matches. Real finished 3rd winning only 1 of their last 5 games and ended the season trophyless. Jump cut to right now and Real have bought Ferland Mendy for €48 million.
Mendy's Stats and Talent:
Ferland Mendy has not only played for Lyon but has represented the French side on 4 games. Judging from his performance, he could be the next Marcelo (in his prime) that Real Madrid needs. He is fast and his dribbling is superb with 1.8 dribbles completed per game last season in the Ligue 1. Thanks to his stamina, he was able to play over 2500 minutes last season across 30 games, 3 of which included substitutions. With a great combination of speed, stamina, and dribbling, he is extremely well suited for Real Madrid’s style of play which focuses on counter attacks and would require him to cover a lot of ground at fast speeds. His passing has also been splendid in the League 1 always finding space for those critical passes and through balls that leaves the opponent nervous. He averaged 1.3 key passes with an accuracy of 84.5% last season which is splendid, considering the amount of aggressive attacking plays he’s involved in. He is no slouch when it comes to defence either, performing some critical blocks and tackles last season and both his attack and defence is further amplified by his ability in the air, despite not being overly tall (1.8m). He averaged 1.5 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, and 1.4 clearances last season proving that defence is also under his forte’.
Factoring in at Real and the Potential Problems:
So now, Real Madrid will have some things they will have to deal with. Marcelo’s form seems to be declining so it is highly likely that Mendy will be their go-to Left Back. The problem is his(Mendy’s) lack of experience in the top grade playing only 57 matches with Lyon. The rest of his career has been spent in Le Havre and their B team( the former being a Division II club). The La Liga could be considered a more competitive league than Ligue 1 but more importantly, Real Madrid is ferocious when it comes to expectations, the biggest example being Carlo Ancelotti being sacked a year after winning the club their first UCL trophy in over a decade. It goes to show that a minor slip-up could cost you a lot and that he will have to overcome the pressure of expectations he has never felt prior. There’s also Marcelo, who is the vice-captain of the club. He might play more games this season, and while it is definitely not a certainty, it is possible that Mendy will be more of a substitute and in some cases, vice-versa. Those are primarily the two options when it comes to the left back situation in Real. Marcelo is more reliable having won numerous trophies at the Bernabeu but his speed and stamina have not been up to par in the 2018-19 season. Mendy, on the other hand, has been great in Lyon in the recent season but he’s still not heavily reliable because of the lack of experience and the fact that this is his first time playing for a club in Spain. There’s also a chance for Zidane to play Nacho who mostly plays Central Defence but also possesses the skills to play LB. The 29 year old Spaniard was not very effective in the La Liga last season though and if that continues it just adds to the unpredictable dangers.
All in all, whether Mendy was a great buy or not is far from proven. A lot of things indicate he’s going to be great at the club but there are some qualms. There’s also Marcelo and the curiosity surrounding how he’ll performing considering the recent lackluster season. Zidane will have to be very prudent with the Left Back position seeing how there’s no guarantee that Mendy will be the answer to all the full back problems on the left edge of the field. He will have to be careful and decide who out of Marcelo, Mendy and Nacho will play while also keeping the possible substitutions in mind, especially if Mendy performs below expectations. On the bright side, there’s just as much (and perhaps even more) evidence to indicate that Mendy will be great at the club and might answer a lot of the problem’s Real Madrid had last season.