11th July 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
Leicester City's astute capture of Nampalys Mendy is another fine example of the club buying players that fit their philosophy.
Unlike many of the Premier League's biggest clubs who regularly buy based solely on talent and then worry about fitting them in later, the Foxes's expertise in identifying players that will suit their system and have the right mentality is a testament to their scouting and capacity to address their needs. On last season's evidence, their square pegs for square holes approach clearly worked wonders.
Mendy's previous relationship with Leicester manager, Claudio Ranieri, who he worked with at Monaco three years ago, also played a crucial role in him choosing the reigning Premier League champions. The player duly noted this upon his arrival, saying: "My reunion with him (Ranieri) went very well.
"I was able to have a first discussion with him and he put me at ease straightaway. He was happy to meet me again and it's reciprocal.
"If I've joined Leicester, it's in large part down to him. He knows me and he knows how to develop me -- he already did it perfectly at Monaco.
"I found the same character, true to himself and always happy -- even if he's meticulous and demanding when it comes to work."
Even though Mendy left Ranieri's Monaco for OGC Nice in 2013, with him fearing for his place due to Monaco spending big that summer, and the Italian tactician was disappointed at his decision, it's great to see they've overcome their past differences to rekindle their alliance.
"I do not understand his attitude," Ranieri told L'Equipe at the time. "As soon as I saw him play, I said here is our Claude Makelele. I trusted him and I played him.
"I think he will miss out a great deal. But it's his life, not mine. It's a shame."
Mendy's decision to leave has proven to be an inspired choice, however, for under the expert tutelage of Claude Puel, he developed into one of the finest holding midfielders in France. "I am proud of my path so far," Mendy recently explained.
"Everything that I've wanted has come true."
Within Puel's attackingly geared philosophy Mendy provided great balance to the Eaglets, with his ability to read the play, outstanding positional sense and athleticism making him a fantastic defensive contributor throughout. As a result of the above, in combination with his electric pace to cover his teammates' blown marking assignments and diminutive frame, the comparisons to the legendary Makelele are definitely understandable. His agility, mobility, power and immense strength further amplify their resemblance.
While the ultra-fit 24-year old excels in the defensive side of the game, the technical assured Mendy consistently showed why he's a fantastic weapon on the attacking end too.
Possessing a brilliant range of passing, Mendy would regularly drop deep between his two centre-backs and receive possession to kickstart his team's attacking forays. Meanwhile, his relentless work rate meant he always motored across the field to supply his teammates with viable passing options. The fact he completed almost 90% of his passes, two thirds of which went forward, aptly documents his undeniable strength in this regard.
Having already played over 180 times at the senior level, the Franco-Senegalese lynchpin also brings with him great experience, which will vitally mean he'll be ready to play from the outset. Moreover, his leadership qualities will be another huge asset to Leicester's cohesive, team-first ideology. Mendy regularly captained Nice last season in the absence of regular skipper Mathieu Bodmer, and did a splendid job while undertaking those responsibilities.
Being such a mature and level headed presence fittingly earned him the nickname of "Papy," which translates to grandpa.
To gain an insight into his mindset and determination to succeed, look no further than the strong words he spoke upon finalising his Foxes move. "I want to help the club to maintain its momentum and to win titles," Mendy insisted.
"I have to concentrate solely on working. Resting is not an obsession. For me, only the work is. If this work pays off, it pays off."
All things considered, for the reasonable price of £13 million, the acquisition of Mendy is an exceptional piece of business by Leicester. He'll bring steel, dependability, leadership, experience and be ready to impact from the get-go.
Leicester's capture of Mendy really does appear to be a match made in heaven.
Take a look at Edward's football blog here.
Leicester City Sign Nampalys Mendy: A Match Made in Heaven
11th July 2016. By Edward Stratmann.