At the start of the season, Chelsea spent big money on signing top players. The likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, etc. arrived at Stamford Bridge. While Edu Mendy’s arrival went little under the radar.
Frank Lampard was in desperate need of a new goalkeeper. He even preferred 39 years old Willy Caballero over Kepa Arrizabalaga. Given they had spent so much on other players, they went economically in the goalkeeping department.
Edu Mendy arrived from Rennes for a fee of $20 million. Chelsea legend Petr Cech also revealed that he extensively scouted Mendy before recommending him to the club. So far it can be said that he hasn’t disappointed the club and the fans.
The Senegal international has already played eight games for the club. Mendy has kept six clean sheets. He made crucial saves against Manchester United to keep the game level on 0-0. However, he won’t be available to Chelsea next year midseason.
Mendy on international duty with Senegal in Africa Cup of Nations
Chelsea is set to lose Mendy at the start of 2022 to the Senegal national team. The shot-stopper will participate in the Africa Cup of Nations for his national team. The Senegal national team qualified for the tournament during this international break.
Mendy has been a key player for his national team. He is No.1 for them. The tournament was supposed to happen in January 2021. However, it was postponed to the next year 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It has been scheduled to happen in January and February. Mendy’s absence will be determined by how far Senegal go in the tournament. Cameroon is the host of the Africa Cup of Nations 2022.
Apart from Senegal, Algeria has already qualified. The former were the winners of the tournament in 2019. While Cameroon being hosts have already qualified. 24 African teams will participate in the tournament. These teams have been drawn into six groups of four teams each.
How does the Africa Cup of Nations affect Chelsea and other Premier League teams
Traditionally the tournament has been played in January as well. There were times when the likes of Didier Drogba, Micheal Essien, and John Obi Mikel weren’t available for Chelsea due to this competition is playing in January.
Currently, Chelsea only has Mendy as the African player. It is unclear whether Arrizabalaga will stay at the club that long or not. While other Premier League managers are also not a big fan of the competition being held at the start of the new year.
Liverpool could possibly be without Mane, Salah and Matip. The possibility of Riyad Mahrez and Thomas Partey being absent for Manchester City and Arsenal respectively looms large.
The Premier League managers don’t want their key players to miss out on a crucial part of the season. While the exhaustion and tiredness from the competition could also affect their form for the rest of the season.