Chelsea have signed the goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes in a transfer worth around £22m, and the 6ft 6ins Senegalese could be thrown straight into action when the Blues travel to West Brom this weekend.
Mendy has signed a five-year contract and is expected to quickly usurp current No1 Kepa Arrizabalaga who has struggled ever since making the move from Athletic Bilbao for £72m, a record fee for a goalkeeper.
“I am so excited to be joining Chelsea,” he said. “It’s a dream for me to be a part of this exciting squad and to work with Frank Lampard and all of his coaching staff. I look forward to meeting my team-mates and can’t wait to get started.”
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia credited technical advisor Petr Cech with the transfer. “As soon as Petr Cech and our technical team identified Edouard as the most suitable goalkeeper to complement our existing group, there was only one player we wanted to bring in,” she said. “Edouard arrives following a season of real success with Rennes, he is ambitious for more, and we welcome him to our club.”
Mendy has been one of the standout goalkeepers in Ligue 1 and recorded the second highest save percentage of any keeper in the French top flight last season, while Kepa finished bottom of the same rankings in the Premier League.
Kepa made glaring errors in both of Chelsea’s opening league games this season, against Brighton and Liverpool, including a disastrous pass cut out by Liverpool forward Sadio Mane which resulted in the Reds’ second goal.
With Kepa drastically short of form and confidence it is unlikely to be long until Frank Lampard makes a change, despite the manager’s public backing of the under-fire Kepa. Lampard has continued to stress any new goalkeeper will simply provide competition for places, as with any other position on the pitch.