Real Madrid have been linked with a number of big names in recent months, as ‘Operation Renewal’ picks up speed. Los Blancos are attempting to mitigate the eventual decline and departure of a golden generation, as Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema age further into their thirties. That operation has already kicked into force with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Casemiro being replaced by David Alaba and Aurelien Tchouameni over the last two summers.
Los Blancos are never short of money, but as they line up moves for Jude Bellingham and potentially another forward, it is worth wondering if they will attempt to cash in on any of their current squad in order to raise funds. One such player that could fall victim to this process is Ferland Mendy.
The 27-year-old French left-back has been a consistent performer since arriving in Madrid, but there has always been a sense, rightly or wrongly, that there are better options out there. That has been evidenced by rumoured interest in Alphonso Davies for 2024. According to Fichajes, Newcastle United are interested in recruiting Mendy.
Florentino Perez is open to selling Mendy if a good offer arrives, and the supposed figure that denotes that is €40m. Would it be premature to sell Mendy?
Defensively, there is little doubt that Mendy is amongst the best in the world. Blessed with pace and strength, Mendy is remarkably skilled at defending in one-on-one situations, arguably the most important trait for a full-back.
It allows Real Madrid a strong degree of reliability on the left side, especially with Vinicius Junior ahead of him. The Brazilian’s mindset is far more attacking, and Mendy’s presence balances out that natural inclination.
On the other hand, the consistent criticism of Mendy is that he could contribute more with the ball. For a team like Real Madrid, who more often than not are tasked breaking down teams, full-back can be an important spot to provide depth and service against lower blocks. Given he was the successor to Marcelo, the contrast could scarcely have been more pronounced.
In this case Mendy is unlikely to increase in value. At 27, he is entering his peak years and it seems improbable that he will add a considerable amount to his skillset in the coming years.
Real Madrid pride themselves on being able to pick the right time to bid farewell to their players, almost always taking the decision a year early than a year late.
With David Alaba capable of operating at left-back at a world-class level, if Los Blancos were to have to survive for a period of time without Mendy, they would have an easy solution.
So far Carlo Ancelotti has been keen to maintain him in central defence. If it was a case of shifting Alaba to left-back, Real Madrid have very presentable buyback options on Fran Garcia and Miguel Gutierrez, both fine young players with plenty of room for growth.
Long-term, this decision obviously hinges in a large part on whom they choose to be a replacement for Mendy, whether that be Alaba or an option outside of the club. However Perez is probably correct in thinking that while he will not pursue an exit for Mendy, if a team meets his valuation, then it could be good business.