Why Leicester City should make a contract approach to Nampalys Mendy
According to Leicestershire Live, the future of Leicester City midfielder Nampalys Mendy remains up in the air, with the Foxes set to return to pre-season training later in August. The 28-year-old is currently a free agent following the expiry of his contract with the Foxes after the conclusion of the delayed 2019-20 season.
Leicester were locked in negotiations with Mendy over a new deal since the restart in June and it was believed that the two parties will eventually reach an agreement. However, as per the report, there are fears in the Leicester camp that Mendy isn’t going to sign a new deal and play for them in the upcoming campaign.
As per Sky Sports (h/t Leicestershire Live), the French defensive midfielder could sign up with Al Sadd, the Qatari club managed by former Barcelona icon Xavi.
Nampalys Mendy started his professional career with Monaco before establishing himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in Ligue 1 following his move to OGC Nice back in 2013.
The 28-year-old made 121 appearances for the French top-flight club across three seasons before joining Leicester City in the summer of 2016. Mendy returned to Nice on loan for the 2017-18 campaign after a disastrous debut season at the King Power Stadium had limited him to only 9 appearances in all competitions.
Mendy enjoyed a resurrection at Leicester under the stewardship of Claude Puel, making 31 appearances in the 2018-19 Premier League season but has found regular minutes hard to come by following the arrival of Brendan Rodgers.
Mendy’s struggles at Leicester
The Frenchman was rarely called into action by Rodgers during the first half of the previous campaign, with Wilfried Ndidi featuring regularly as the first-choice defensive midfielder.
However, the forgotten Mendy was the go-to man for the manager in the defensive midfield role when Ndidi picked up an injury following the turn of the year. The Frenchman ended the 2019-20 season with just 7 league appearances for the Foxes, with 4 of them coming as starts.
With that in mind, however, it is worth pointing out that Mendy’s lack of game time at Leicester has largely been down to the impressive displays of Ndidi, who is widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League.
Another major contributing factor behind Mendy’s limited involvement at the King Power Stadium is Rodgers’ preference to use only a single holding midfielder in his system. So it would be harsh to blame the player for that.
Why Leicester need to keep hold of Mendy
Leicester need to ensure that they have adequate cover in all departments heading into a busy 2020-21 season. The Foxes will be expected to build on their 5th-place finish in the league while the challenge of playing in the Europa League means that they will have more fixtures to cope with.
To put things into perspective, keeping Mendy on the books could be crucial for that matter. The Frenchman is the only specialist defensive midfield understudy to Ndidi in Leicester’s ranks, with Rodgers showing no intention to include the likes of Adrien Silva, Daniel Amartey and Matty James in his plans.
The Foxes have been linked with some exciting attacking players like Trincao and Dwight McNeil, but losing Nampalys Mendy would leave them with a new task to take care of in the ongoing transfer window.
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Suffice to say, Leicester would need to fork out a sizable fee in the window to replace Namplays Mendy. Hence, it would be a better idea for them to somehow convince the 28-year-old to put pen to paper on a new deal, a stance that would allow them to improve other areas of their squad.
Mendy still has a lot of football left in him at 28 and with Leicester set to participate in the Europa League next term, he will surely have a more prominent role to play.