Chelsea announced the signing of new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy yesterday morning after a drawn out transfer saga.
The 28-year old Senegalese international arrived to compete with current number one Kepa Arrizabalaga, who is having a bad time in a Chelsea shirt right now.
Mendy is a player who has been looked at by Chelsea for some time and the pursuit comes on recommendations of club legend and former goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Mendy himself would have been watching Cech very closely during his Chelsea playing days, after admitting to the Chelsea website that ‘I’ve been a Chelsea supporter since I was little.’
He spoke his first words as a Chelsea player yesterday after his photoshoot with his new Chelsea shirt, happily showing off the number 16.
A shirt number that he and every Chelsea fan will know well, worn by former player who then lead the Blues to their first ever Champions League trophy, Roberto Di Matteo.
“I’ve been a Chelsea supporter since I was little. I adore this club. When I was 12 I had the chance with a past club I played for to go to Brighton, and we watched a match. I thought English football was amazing. We went into a shop and I saw the Chelsea shirt, this was about 2003 when Ranieri was the manager, and I bought this shirt. So I’ve always liked this club.
“Most of the biggest African talent has played for this team. Drogba, Essien, Eto’o, Mikel. When you see that, you want to continue it. Regarding the goalkeeper, I am the first, so it really makes me very proud, and it’s also a big responsibility.”
On whether he is fit and ready to play, Mendy responded: “Yes, I’m fit. Even though I haven’t played a match for a while I’ve been training as usual with Rennes. I have played an in-house match too in training recently, so I’m feeling good.”
Just six years ago, Mendy was playing third tier football, he spoke of his incredible journey:
“When this story is discussed, then I realise the path I have been on in my career. It’s true that it’s incredible. People say hard work pays off, and it does. I have worked very hard; I haven’t taken anything for granted. I was at Marseille, and then Reims, and then Rennes, and now Chelsea. It’s been a constant progression, and now I am ready to continue on that upward path.”
Mendy also confirms Cech’s involvement in the transfer:
“He called me while the transfer was ongoing and reassured me. It was great to have someone from the club speak to me. It showed me they really wanted me, and it was really appreciated.
“I want to adapt to this league, continue my progression that has been constant for a number of years, and to win. At a club like Chelsea, you have to win.”