REPORT: Chelsea Close in on Edouard Mendy

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It’s been quite a summer for Chelsea in the transfer market. Five important, first-team quality players have joined manager Frank Lampard‘s side, plus two young centre-backs on free transfers.

The one part of the equation that seems to be missing is the new goalkeeper, but now Chelsea seem to have rectified that. According to The Athletic, they are very close to completing the signing of Edouard Mendy.

REPORT: Chelsea Close in on Mendy

A Backup Keeper With Starter Quality

Although Lampard dropped Kepa Arrizabalaga on two separate occasions, including during the business end of the season, it was still not enough; that’s how poor his season was.

He boasted the lowest save percentage in the league, as well as an appalling expected goals to goals conceded ratio (16 of the 54 goals Chelsea conceded were shots that statistically should’ve been saved).

The biggest problem was that even throughout Kepa’s wretched form, the next best option was Willy Caballero, who is a steep dropoff in quality. Lampard may have given in and played the Argentine veteran anyway, but he cannot be the starting keeper for Chelsea.

Caballero will be 40 next season, he is a career backup, and let’s not forget his howler in the 2018 World Cup. That’s why since Kepa is staying, Chelsea need a new keeper to bridge the divide between starter and backup.

Mendy certainly has the quality to start Premier League matches, though he is no Jan Oblak or Andre Onana (other names Chelsea have been linked with). Since Chelsea are persevering with Kepa, one of these signings wouldn’t have made sense.

However, now that the Blues are signing an adequate backup, Lampard will be less hesitant to drop Kepa if his form dips next season.

Fierce Competition For Starting Role

It seems strange, but for the first time in many seasons, there will be no undisputed starting goalkeeper at Chelsea. After Mark Schwarzer left, Petr Cech dominated for many years, followed by Thibaut Courtois and now Kepa.

But this season, there is no number one goalkeeper. Kepa will likely start the season, but he has no job security. One poor game and he will be sent to the bench and Mendy starts in his place. Not even just one poor game, one poor training session could do the trick.

Mendy comes from being a starter at Rennes, and given Kepa’s form, he’ll see no reason why he can’t come in and be a starter at Stamford Bridge. He will push Kepa to produce his best, which could bring the best out of both of them.

Kepa knows he needs to consistently produce results in training and in games to stand a chance at locking down the starting role, and he’ll never be able to rest on his laurels.

With a better defence this season, this is Kepa’s chance to show he belongs. But if he doesn’t, Mendy will be right there to pick up his slack.

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