If I had to pick one player’s career to measure how nothing is ever acquired in football, Edouard Mendy’s would certainly do the trick. From unemployed to best goalkeeper in the world in six years, from best goalkeeper in the world to substitute at Chelsea in one year and dust. His professional life is a gigantic roller coaster and the Senegalese goalkeeper must now face a rather uncomfortable situation.
Praised since his surprise departure from Rennes in 2020, African champions, CAN winners, voted UEFA best goalkeeper in 2021, Mendy is now relegated to the Chelsea bench. The state of grace has come to an end for the one to whom everything had smiled for months. This Tuesday, for the Blues’ trip to Milan, it is still Kepa Arrizabalaga, the former outcast, who should start in the English goal. Like since Graham Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel. How did Mendy come to this? He tries to explain.
Edouard Mendy, author of a big mistake against Leeds this season
Credit: Getty Images
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He had to digest everything that happened to him
Two errors against West Ham last December, a ball against Karim Benzema in the Champions League in the spring and a last one in August against Leeds, the Senegalese saw his confidence crumble in the face of less controlled performances. How to explain? “He had to digest everything that happened to him for three years.Christophe Lollichon, the former head of goalkeeping performance at Chelsea who brought Mendy to London, informs us. He will regain his level because he has been through much bigger crises in his life.“
If we had to precisely date the beginning of his ills, it would roughly correspond to his return from the CAN. Since then, Mendy seems to have had a hard time managing his dazzling success at club and national team. Before his dismissal, Thomas Tuchel had already put him in competition with Kepa. The German coach savored his goalkeeper’s ups and downs less and less and was quite offensive after his failed dribble in front of his line against Leeds at the end of August: “With these types of errors, I don’t know if there is much to talk about. You know it’s a mistake. Everyone in the world sees this error and it is a big mistake at a crucial moment in the game. It doesn’t help. It cost us dearly.“
Kepa and extension aborted…
Undoubtedly destabilized by the presence of Kepa, who should have left this summer, on the bench, the Senegalese has had a delicate start to the season. His knee injury definitively took him away from the game and the Spaniard took the opportunity to take his place in the Barça goal. “Today things are getting a bit confusingLollichon continues. He was injured with annoying swelling but he played anyway. But when the body hurts, you have to know how to stop. The pressure that has only been building for three years for him. Playing less will allow you to regain your balance and serenity.Problem, his new manager Graham Potter seems to have made up his mind now and Mendy finds himself in a situation he has hardly ever known at Chelsea except during his first few weeks: that of the liner.
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“I think Kepa played very well todayPotter admitted last week after the win at Crystal Palace. He made some big saves, but also his kick distribution and decision making was really good.“Last stone in Mendy’s shoe: his contract situation and his balance of power with a new management not known to have feelings. While his contract runs until 2025, Mendy has turned down an extension offer.
The Telegraph He specifies that the club is studying all options for the position, including signing a new goalkeeper or even trusting Gabriel Slolina, an 18-year-old goalkeeper who arrived this summer. A way to pressure Mendy? At 30 years old, here he is, in any case, facing a violent headwind. The fairy tale is well and truly finished.
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