City use cheques to Pep up title hopes
Manchester City are using their cheque book to show that disappointing finishes the past two seasons won’t be tolerated.
After coming fourth in the Premier League in 2016, things were supposed to change last season with new manager Pep Guardiola. But they didn’t quite work out as City finished a distant third behind champions Chelsea and runners-up Tottenham.
Guardiola is preparing for his second campaign by spending freely this summer, already shelling out a reported 216 million pounds (R3670m). That total is rapidly approaching the record 219 million pounds laid out by Real Madrid in 2009, the summer they bought Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United.
City topped the 200 million pound barrier on Monday by signing Monaco defender Benjamin Mendy for a reported 52 million pounds.
“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester City,” Mendy said on the club’s website. “They are one of Europe’s leading clubs and in Pep Guardiola they have a manager committed to playing attacking football.
“I am sure that over the next few years we will be successful.”
Mendy began his career with Le Havre, who currently play in France’s second tier. He moved to Marseille in 2013, where he made 101 appearances in three seasons and established himself as one of the best full-backs in France.
He joined Monaco on a fiveyear deal last season, winning the Ligue 1 title in his sole season at the club, which also reached the Champions League semi-finals.
“Benjamin has all the qualities we are looking for in a full-back,” City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain said.
“For such a young player, he has a wealth of top-level experience. He is undoubtedly one of the world’s best fullbacks, our number one target in this position.”
Mendy will join City, who are preparing for their second pre-season tour game against Real Madrid in Los Angeles
The 23-year-old is the latest addition to a defence that was considered the club’s Achilles heel last season. He follows right-back Kyle Walker, bought for a fee that could reach 50 million pounds, goalkeeper Ederson Moraes (35 million pounds) and defender Danilo (26.5 million pounds), along with midfielder Bernardo Silva (43 million pounds).
And the spending doesn’t figure to stop with more than a month left before the transfer window closes.
City are also reportedly interested in two of the biggest names on the market – Arsenal’s top-scorer Alexis Sanchez and Monaco’s teen sensation Kylian Mbappe.
Sanchez may be the more likely option as he is entering the final year of his contract and aspires to play in the Champions League, while Mbappe has also been heavily linked with Real Madrid.
On the other side of Manchester, preparations are also underway for Jose Mourinho’s second season in charge at United.
Romelu Lukaku and Victory Lindelof have already been signed and the club has been linked with Tottenham’s Eric Dier, Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic and Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic.
Mourinho wants to bring in two more players but isn’t ready to discuss specific names just yet.
“You know, names is difficult for me because as you know the players belong to clubs, the players they are in pre-seasons.” – dpa/Reuters