Who: Ferland Mendy
From Where: Lyon
To Where: Real Madrid
For How Much: €48M
Grade for Real Madrid: B
Grade for Lyon: B+
Ferland Mendy to Real Madrid Overview
As expected, Real Madrid really is not messing around this summer. Mendy is now RM’s fourth addition for significant money, following the March signing of Porto’s Eder Militão and last week’s moves for Luka Jovic and Eden Hazard. A week after bolstering their attack, Los Blancos have now added another young defender to the mix alongside Militão, who is 21. The 24-year-old Mendy is joining RM on a six-year deal.
Who is he?
Mendy was a key cog for a Lyon team that finished third in Ligue 1 this year behind annual runaway champion PSG and second-place Lille. Lyon also advanced as far as any French club in the Champions League – both Lyon and PSG bowed out in the round of 16.
Lyon was an above-average defensive team (47 goals allowed in 38 Ligue 1 matches) thanks largely to Mendy and 22-year-old Tanguy Ndombele. Mendy also performed well in the Champions League this year, playing 707 minutes in eight appearances and earning a solid 6.82 WhoScored rating in the UCL.
No, that’s not a head-turning rating, but most defenders have ratings on the low side against Lionel Messi and Co., who eliminated Lyon 5-1 on aggregate in the round of 16. The encouraging thing for Mendy and Lyon was Leg 1 of that match-up, when they notched a shutout.
Mendy also has three caps for France, including a start in Tuesday’s 4-0 romp over Andorra.
Is the price fair?
It seems to me like RM is paying quite a bit for a player I haven’t seen on many “best young talent in Europe” lists. A big reason for that is that defenders get far less notoriety than attacking players, but still.
Mendy is on the younger side at 24, but is by no means a teenage prodigy. I believe that’s worth mentioning because €48M makes a lot more sense for a 19-year-old with Mendy’s accomplishments and experience (this was just his second season in Ligue 1) than it does for a player in his mid-20s. The price tag does make more sense when we remember that in addition to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and PSG were all hoping to sign him.
What impact should we expect?
Manager Zinedine Zidane has made his interest in Mendy well-known for weeks. Zidane is obviously well-connected in France and probably has as much info on the player as anyone outside Ligue 1. Is Zidane so high on him that we should expect Mendy to see a ton of minutes in his first year? That is the €48M question.
One of the many players for Real Madrid who struggled for most of ’18-19 was Marcelo. Mendy, in terms of physical talent (insert comment about Marcelo being out of shape last season here), has a great shot to beat the 31-year-old Brazilian for that spot. But Marcelo is a veteran fixture at RM, so that battle figures to be a compelling one.