Edouard Mendy is being celebrated at the moment following his recent trail of successes, both with his club and country, and also individually. He guided the Thomas Tuchel’s side to the UEFA Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup trophies, plus he is officially recognized as the UEFA best keeper, African best keeper, and the FIFA best goalkeeper in the world.
However, it would have been a different case altogether if events happened otherwise in the 2020 summer transfer window. According to Goal, Chelsea attempted to bring in Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak to Stamford Bridge on two separate occasions during the past three years, but failed in their pursuit of the Slovenian shot-stopper both times.
Chelsea initially failed in their efforts to land Oblak in 2018, as Atlético were not willing to let their goalie leave for a fee less than his release clause of £87 million. The blues signed Kepa Arrizabalaga for £71m from Athletic Bilbao on a seven year deal.
Oblak would then commit his future to Atletico by signing a fresh deal at the Wanda Metropolitano, although the opportunity for Chelsea to sign him re-emerged in the summer of 2020.
However, history repeated itself as Chelsea failed to match Atlético’s £104 million valuation of their goalkeeper, owing partly to the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chelsea then brought in Edouard Mendy as a short-term, reliable fix from Rennes for just £22 million and the Senegalese has been sensational in goal ever since.
Chelsea would probably have regretted spending £104m on Jan Oblak, rather than the £22m they paid for Edouard Mendy. Statistics show that the Atletico Madrid shot stopper has the worst save success rate (21.4%) in Europe’s top 5 leagues in 2022.
For a goalkeeper of Oblak’s status, 21.4% save rate is really poor. Those who watch Atletico Madrid games will know that he lets in very poor goals. Imagine if we paid £104m for him instead of £22m for Mendy; they would have spent more an average keeper in return.