AS Monaco are currently resolute in their desire to block any other possible departures following Tiemoué Bakayoko’s move to Chelsea, which has led them to reject offers from Arsenal and Manchester City for Thomas Lemar and Benjamin Mendy respectively.
Benjamin Mendy has given his agreement to join Manchester City, and, as L’Équipe have reported, there are three prevalent reasons behind his decision.
The first is that he has personally been seduced by Pep Guardiola. The latter is close to Marcelo Bielsa, who was Mendy’s mentor at Marseille, knows virtually all of the qualities and faults of the left-back’s game and has promised to take Mendy to the highest level.
When Guardiola spoke to Mendy, he was very precise and persuasive, which had a serious affect on the Monaco man.
Manchester City, a club that could conceivably fight for major silverware every season, is also seen by Mendy as the logical next step. He has had six seasons in Ligue 2 and Ligue 1 and even before he made his move to Monaco last summer, he was already making noises about remaining at the club for as short a period of time as possible, to develop his potential, before moving to the Premier League.
Monaco are however remaining resolute. Make an exceptional offer, or Mendy stays. Vasilyev had always planned to hold on to Mendy for two seasons. In the summer of 2016, the Russian AS Monaco Vice President had already accounted for the departures of Bernardo Silva, Valère Germain and Nabil Dirar at the end of the 2016/17 campaign, and that was before their mythical season even began.
Vasilyev is a meticulous planner, he has learned from the Martial fiasco in late August 2015, and the only full-back that he had intended to allow to leave was Djibril Sidibé, because Almamy Touré has been ready for over a year now to take the first-choice right-back spot.
Unfortunately, the offers as they are have come in for Benjamin Mendy and not for former Lille man Sidibé, with Manchester City understood to have been told no when they presented an offer worth €50m including bonuses for the former Le Havre full-back.
Unless Manchester City act in a stunning fashion, Mendy will stay at AS Monaco.
As for Thomas Lemar, Arsenal’s initial bid worth around €35m was made because the London club had been indirectly informed by the French international that he wanted to make the move and work under Arsène Wenger next season.
Parts of Lemar’s entourage, notably his father Edwige, want the former Caen man to stay and sign an extension with AS Monaco, in order to ensure the best possible chance of being in the France squad for the 2018 World Cup.
Arsenal appear tempted to try again, but in a similar vein to Mendy, Vasilyev had never planned for a Thomas Lemar departure and has no intention of changing his mind.
With 2 months remaining in the summer transfer window, the road is however long.