Chelsea decision to tie down goalkeeper Edouard Mendy with a new contract has suffered a huge hit as he rejects Chelsea’s opening offer.
The Senegalese goalkeeper is one of the lowest-paid players in the Blues squad and has rejected the first proposal because the terms were inferior to back-up Kepa Arrizabalaga, who is on £190,000 a week.
James last week signed a six-year contract worth £250,000-a-week, and Chelsea’s new owners have made talks with Mount and Mendy one of their next priorities.
Mendy is two years into the five-year contract he signed with Chelsea after joining from Rennes in 2020. He was initially signed to compete with Kepa Arrizabalaga but has exceeded expectations, establishing himself as Chelsea’s first choice and becoming one of the world’s leading goalkeepers.
He helped Chelsea win the Champions League in his first season, keeping a record-equalling nine clean sheets along the way.
Recent errors against Leeds and West Ham have led to criticism over his recent performances, but manager Thomas Tuchel backed his No1 after Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Hammers at Stamford Bridge.
“I think he’s, at the moment, a bit unlucky,” Tuchel told the club’s website.
“In training he’s fantastic, he’s in general a very calm, very self-reflective guy who is aware that he lacks a little bit of luck at the moment. Things do not go in his favour.
“He has situations where if it’s not 100 percent clear because of his actions, he gets punished massively.
“He’s just in this moment, it feels like it’s not so much his fault. I have a feeling that he tries everything, he’s very focused and we will keep on supporting him.”
And whether if the 2021 FIFA Best Goalkeeper of the Year winner should be dropped after a series of underwhelming displays in the Chelsea goal.
“I think it’s a very sensitive position in football in general — and it’s not everything that’s just pure quality and only about decision-making,” Tuchel said.
“It’s also about the feeling and the feeling that you feel the confidence and sometimes it’s a bit of also having the luck.
“Somebody sent me an interesting quote about Napoleon, who asked his generals if they should not only have the best quality, but he needs also that they are lucky generals.”
“So, this is what you need also from leaders and from goalkeepers, and that they have the kind of momentum that if they do a little mistake, it’s not punished. Now, he gets punished a lot for not a lot of what he does wrong. In my mind, the situation is calm, we have two fantastic goalkeepers, two fantastic guys.”
Tuchel’s side face Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia in their Champions League group-stage opener on Tuesday evening.