Sunderland target Mendy waits on options

Benjamin Mendy
Benjamin Mendy

BENJAMIN Mendy is understood to be keen on joining Sunderland after French club Le Havre confirmed they have accepted a fee for his services.

But the 18-year-old will see whether interest from Lyon and Marseille develops into any late offers before deciding whether to leave his homeland.

Mendy was noncommittal over his future in an interview in France yesterday after Sunderland became the first club to meet the valuation of Second Division outfit Le Havre.

The left-back stressed that he has not agreed personal terms with Sunderland yet and that playing in both the Premier League or the French top flight are attractive propositions.

“There is an agreement between Sunderland and Le Havre, but between Sunderland and me, there is still nothing,” said Mendy.

“My priority is to move to a club where I have time to play and where the coach will trust me.

“If it is in France, so much the better.

“But if it is England, I cannot complain. The Premier League is the best league in the world.

“If I find a coach who wants me and that is there, why not?

“But it is also interesting to go through a normal course knowing Ligue 1.”

But sources close to Mendy have told the Echo that a move to the Stadium of Light holds significant appeal for the defender, who is currently with the France Under-19 squad ahead of next month’s European Championships.

Mendy will not shut on the door on interest from France though, while his representatives try to reach an agreement over personal terms with Sunderland.

Le Havre have already rejected one offer from Lyon, although club president Jeanne-Pierre Louvel has kept the possibility open for a renewed approach.

“We were close to an agreement with Lyon, it has not happened but you never know,” he said.

“Right now, the only club we are in agreement with is Sunderland and it is now up to Benjamin Mendy to make his choice.”

Sunderland are still likely to sign at least one more left-back should they sign Mendy, with Argentine Lucas Orban their prime target.

The Black Cats are also in the running for Orban’s fellow Argentine Gino Peruzzi, who has confirmed he is interested in a move to the Stadium of Light.

Right-back Peruzzi, who was a target for new Sunderland chief scout Valentino Angeloni when holding down a similar position at Inter Milan, says his last game for Argentina outfit Velez Sarsfield could be this weekend’s cup final against Clausura league champions Newell’s Old Boys.

Peruzzi said: “We’ll see if the offer from Sunderland for me suits myself and Vélez. I’d like to go to that club.

“The football I like personally is the English because of the pace it has.”

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