There's plenty of smoke around Chelsea's supposed interest in Stade Rennais goalkeeper Édouard Mendy, though so far that's only served to make things somewhat murky.
Conflicting reports abound, some saying that Chelsea have made at least two bids, while others maintaining that the situation hasn't evolved beyond exploratory interest. But there's been enough speculation to make it quite likely that there's something here beyond just idle chatter. It certainly would make sense for Chelsea to go after Mendy, who apparently comes with the recommendation of Christophe Lollichon and would serve as solid and maybe even reasonably priced competition for Kepa Arrizabalaga.
While French media have mostly played down this possibility, a couple recent stories play into the evolving narrative a bit more positively.
First, we have a report that puts Chelsea firmly on the trail of Mendy, with a claim that the 28-year-old entered the conversation after Chelsea were priced out of a possible move for Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan. Lille were apparently demanding €35m, which was over twice what we first reportedly bid for Mendy. Even if Mendy gets done around €20m, the savings would remain significant.
Chelsea s’est concrètement positionné sur Mike Maignan. Côté LOSC, Marc Ingla aurait fait capoter les négos en réclamant 35M pour son gardien. Chelsea ne souhaitait pas mettre autant.— Manu ⭐️⭐️ (@ManuLonjon) September 1, 2020
M Maignan serait mécontent.
Piste E Mendy clairement activée côté Blues.
Adding to this report is a story from L'Equipe, which claims that Rennes have identified a potential replacement for Mendy, and will be making a loan offer for PSG spare part Alphonse Areola, who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, playing very little.
Given that the Ligue 1 season has already started, Rennes certainly won't be selling without a replacement. Then again, if they truly consider Mendy "untransferable", then maybe we could make a move Areola himself instead?
In any case, we don't have much time to waste, with the Premier League season starting in two weeks.