Who is…the potential Kante replacement Leicester are signing?
Nampalys Mendy is a name precious few football fans will recognise outside of France, but then again, so was N’golo Kante’s before he signed for soon-to-be Premier League champions Leicester City.
With Kante now effortlessly projecting his role as Leicester’s lynchpin onto the grand stage of Euro 2016 for France, those who could not now identify the Foxes ace would also be in scant supply.
The Foxes uncovered a genuine sensation in their 2015 signing from French club Caen, and as such may now be forced into replacing Les Bleus’ Duracell-powered midfielder.
This is where, according to reports across the channel, Mendy fits the bill for Claudio Ranieri’s Champions League entrants.
Like his compatriot Kante, the Nice midfielder is similarly diminutive in stature at around 5ft 6”, but more importantly relishes his role as tenacious defence-screener.
Still only 23, Mendy’s style has even led to comparisons with former Chelsea and France great Claude Makelele.
If this rings true then Leicester fans will surely be delighted by the player reportedly on his way to the English champions for a fee just shy of the £10m mark.
Whether or not his recruitment is merely an insurance policy against losing Kante, who is now among the most coveted midfielders in world football, may not matter if Ranieri’s brilliant scouting network comes up trumps again.
Mendy certainly has pedigree at international level, having turned out for his country from U18 right through to France’s U21 setup, where he currently has five caps to his name.
Let go by Monaco after three seasons in summer 2014, he has certainly been far better appreciated by Nice where he was the only ever present player in Ligue 1 for the south-coast club last term.
According to the data collectors at Whoscored.com, Mendy averaged just over two interceptions per match in the anchor role and finished the season with an extremely efficient pass completion percentage of 92.
If he can adapt to the weather in the slightly milder midlands climate, Leicester could be onto another winner.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.