Manchester City missed Benjamin Mendy last season. With the Frenchman suffering a season-ending injury early on in City’s 100-point Premier League campaign, Pep Guardiola’s side were given a weakness. Fabian Delph did an admirable job at left back, but he is, by trade, a midfielder. He was the kink in Man City’s armour, even as they strolled to the title.
Mendy has struggled with injury for a second successive season, but even when he has been fully fit, Guardiola has overlooked the Frenchman. There have been questions over Mendy’s commitment, with the left back once filmed in a nightclub just two days before a City game. Guardiola shrugs those suggestions aside, but he hasn’t always been one for masking his true emotions.
Subsequent reports that City should look to sign a new left back this summer were therefore unsurprising. A player under Guardiola is nothing if he doesn’t have the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach’s trust and it appears Mendy, for one reason or another, has lost that.
Ben Chilwell appeared to be City’s number target to fill the troublesome left back spot, with the Leicester City full back doing enough to impress Guardiola this season. Those reports have dried up in recent weeks, though, with City now seemingly content with Oleksandr Zinchenko as their first choice left back.
Zinchenko has undoubtedly impressed at Man City. There is much to be admired about the way the Ukrainian, initially signed to be loaned out and then ultimately sold, has forced his way into the fold at the Etihad Stadium, earning Guardiola’s trust in a way Mendy has yet to. But is he really good enough to take City to the next level?
Mendy has the ability to be the player Guardiola needs at left back, but if his mindset is not right he must be moved on. A replacement must be signed this summer just like a replacement, Ederson, was quickly signed for Claudio Bravo when it became clear that the Chilean wouldn’t satisfy Guardiola.
It’s this ruthless drive that has kept Man City at the top of the English game. They cannot afford to get complacent, particularly with Liverpool improving year-on-year. Mendy should have been a central part of Guardiola’s team, but he isn’t. City must find someone to replace him rather than just make do with an inferior deputy.
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