Edouard Mendy signed with Al-Ahli on Wednesday, becoming the third player to leave Chelsea for Saudi Arabia since the conclusion of the season. Mendy, a goalkeeper from Senegal, is the third player to leave Chelsea for Saudi Arabia.
It is believed that Al-Ahli spent about £16 million ($20 million) to acquire Mendy after he decided to leave the Premier League side after Kepa Arrizabalaga took over as the starting goalkeeper in the second part of the previous season.
Al-Ahli released a message on social media saying, “Welcome Mendy… best goalkeeper in the world,” which was backed by a video footage of the 31-year-old putting pen to paper on his contract.
A statement that can be seen on the website of Chelsea reads as follows: “Having started his career in the lower tiers of French football – and even spending several months without a club – Mendy rose to the pinnacle of European football with Chelsea,” and this is taken directly from the statement.
“Both on and off the field, he exudes a tremendous amount of charm, and he will forever have a special position in our annals for the major contributions he made to our win in the Champions League in 2021.
“We are grateful to you not just for that, but also for everything else. Good luck, Edou!”
Mendy was a key contributor to Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in 2021, but he appeared in just a single game for the club following his return from the World Cup in Qatar the previous year.
As a result of Thomas Tuchel’s dismissal as manager of Chelsea in September, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard, who was serving in an interim capacity at the time, both preferred to deploy Kepa in goal. This led to the goalkeeper’s decline in popularity.
A player who had been honored as UEFA’s goalkeeper of the season and as FIFA’s finest male goalie in 2021 had a stunning fall from glory.
Mendy is the latest player to leave Chelsea for a team in the Saudi Professional League. He follows in the footsteps of former World Cup winner N’Golo Kante and Kalidou Koulibaly, both of whom have signed with Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal, respectively. Mendy joins the ranks of these players.
After an agreement was reached for him to play for Al-Nassr, it is believed that Hakim Ziyech, who is also one of the Chelsea players who will be leaving the club this summer, is also on the verge of transferring to the Gulf state.
The Blues are keen to liquidate as many of their surplus players as they can before the 30th of June so that the proceeds from the transactions may be accounted for in their financial statements for the 2022–2023 season.
The latest surge of European players who have been enticed to Saudi Arabia by the promise of enormous incomes began with Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Manchester United to Al Nassr in January. The move launched the wave of players who have been lured to Saudi Arabia by the promise of huge earnings.
Karim Benzema, a former colleague of Cristiano Ronaldo’s at Real Madrid, has followed France forward N’Golo Kante to Al-Ittihad after the latter made the unexpected decision to leave the Spanish giants.
Ruben Neves, a Portuguese international player who is 26 years old, has reportedly joined Al-Hilal after leaving Wolves.