Meet the world's most expensive defender, Benjamin Mendy

For at least five more minutes, Benjamin Mendy carries the label of World's Most Expensive Defender. He arrives from Champions League semifinalists AS Monaco, and he'll be expected to slot right in at left back for Manchester City. He's the all-energy flying wingback of Pep Guardiola's dreams, and the Citizens will look a lot different this season with him patrolling the left flank.


Mendy never stops working. In all phases of play, and in all situations, he's always running. That, combined with his top-notch athleticism, means he's almost always affecting play in some way.

You're likely to see Mendy score a goal or two just because of how quickly he covers ground. Don't be shocked if a City counter-attack looks to be dying, only for a blue blur to come into the picture on the left flank to supplement it.

Mendy is a top-notch crosser too. He's recorded 29 assists in 204 professional club games, with 11 coming last season. City doesn't score a lot of goals from headers, but it's never bad to have more ways to attack, and they'll be happy they've replaced Aleksandar Kolarov with someone who has just as sweet of a left foot.

At 22 years old, Mendy is not yet a finished product as a defender. His positioning still leaves a bit to be desired. But when has positioning while out of possession ever mattered much for a fullback in a Pep Guardiola system? His one deficiency won't be exposed very often, plus his speed and effort usually make up for it anyway.


Oh, just £52 million. That's the largest fee that anyone has ever paid for a defender, surpassing ... the £50 million City paid for the fullback on the other side of their defense, Kyle Walker. But the previous record technically belonged to David Luiz, who cost Paris Saint-Germain £50 million three years before Walker moved.


While that's obviously a huge fee, it's clear that Monaco wasn't going to accept anything less than a world record deal to part with Mendy. They'd already lost Bernardo Silva to City before that deal, as well as midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko to Chelsea, and they're probably going to sell Kylian Mbappe for a nine-figure fee. Monaco doesn't need the money, so City had to make it worth their while. And City won't mind — they got the best left back on the market, and that's all that matters to them.

In that respect, he's probably worth it. But the fact that Mendy is both a huge upgrade on what City had and someone who has massive room to grow makes him a great signing. There's no reason to believe that Mendy can't turn into the best left back in the world. He's bigger, stronger and faster than just about everyone else, plays as hard as anyone you'll ever see, and has solid composure and decision-making skills for someone his age.

Under Guardiola, it's likely that Mendy evolves into one of the world's great attacking fullbacks.

Main photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images