MANCHESTER: Monaco left-back Benjamin Mendy on Monday signed a mega five-year contract with Manchester City making him the world;s most expensive defender.

The 23-year-old Frenchman, part of the Monaco team which won last season’s Ligue1 title and knocked out City on their way to the Champions League semi-finals, has agreed a deal reported to be worth a record $52 million (58 million euros, $67 million) for a defender.

The France international will link up with his new team-mates in the United States where Pep Guardiola’s side are preparing for their second pre-season tour game against Real Madrid in Los Angeles.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester City,” Mendy said. “They are one of Europe’s leading clubs and in Pep Guardiola they have a manager committed to playing attacking football. I am sure that over the next few years we will be successful.”

Mendy is manager Guardiola’s third major defensive signing in the current transfer window following his purchases of Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur and Danilo from Real Madrid.

His arrival follows the departure earlier this summer of long-time City left-backs Gael Clichy to Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir and Aleksandar Kolarov to AS Roma.

He will be reunited in Manchester with former Monaco team-mate Bernardo Silva after the midfielder completed his transfer earlier this month.

“Benjamin has all the qualities we are looking for in a full-back,” City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain said. “For such a young player, he has a wealth of top-level experience. He is undoubtedly one of the world’s best full-backs, our number one target in this position.”

Mendy began his career with Le Havre, who currently play in France’s second tier. He moved to Marseille in 2013, where he made 101 appearances in three seasons and established himself as one of the best full-backs in France.

He made his France debut in a 3-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Luxembourg in March, and won Ligue 1 in his sole season with Monaco.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2017

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