Yesterday Manchester City announced the signing of yet another defender, this time it was Mendy for a reported fee of £49.2 million expected to rise to £52 million pounds. This makes him the most expensive defender in history and the second time City have broken this record in the space of two weeks, overtaking Kyle Walker whom City signed last week for £50 million. Overall this means City have spent upwards of £200 million this summer alone, with almost three-quarters of that being spent on defensive positions.
It is well known that Pep’s style of play, both at the Etihad and previous clubs under his management, relies heavily upon the quality, fitness and ability of his full backs. During attacking plays, his full backs take up a central position, traditionally held by a player like Matic or Busquets, and build up play from the back with incisive and accurate passing, when the ball goes wide, his full backs are expected to make driving runs up and down the pitch, adding another dimension going forward and more stable back line. Last season at City it was clear that the full backs in the squad, Clichy, Sagna, Zabaleta and Kolarov did not possess the quality or stamina required to have this role, and City suffered as Guardiola’s vision failed to take shape.
With the signings of Walker and Mendy, City now have the quality and fitness required to play this style of football and likely succeed under Guardiola. For a combined £100 million however this is a reflection of the growing issue with the financial power of the Premier League, in a market where ten years ago Spurs would have struggled to sell Walker for £15 million.
However the added financial power of the premier league has to add something to the enjoyment of watching the worlds greatest league, hopefully now, all of the top six teams will be able to competitively fight for the title, making for an exciting season ahead.