September 6, 2017
Papy, it was evident
Papy Mendy in Nice, Act 2. After 3 full seasons with the club (from 2013 to 2016) and a year at Leicester, the boss of the midfield (25 years old) completed his return home on the final day of the summer transfer window. (Re)Introduced to the press on Monday, he delivered the reasons behind a choice which remains one with real reasoning. And evidence.
“When he left for Leicester, we kept our verbal agreement. This summer, he resisted lots of options and held his own.” Flanked by his former player, Jean-Pierre Rivère first of all concentrated on the qualities of the man, when faced with the press, summing up his profile in three simple and efficient words: “a positive person”.
Lucien Favre quickly followed in the footsteps of his president. From the start of his tenure in summer 2016, the coach wanted to hold on to the former Aiglons’ captain and didn’t hide it: “Yes, I wanted to hold on to him, but I understood that it was going to be difficult to resist the offer from Leicester, he explained. Unfortunately, he got injured last season. He made the most of the opportunity to come back to Nice. There is no need for us to watch a game to know that he is a good player, to see how he tracks back, how he distributes the ball. We are welcoming him with open arms, especially me….”
“Number 1 fan of the Gym” during his season in England, the former youth international remained loyal to himself about his return: simple and efficient. His English adventure? “I was injured for nearly all of the season. I went through two operations. I went there to play in the Champions League, I couldn’t do that.”
His come-back? “I didn’t exactly expect to come back so quickly. The circumstances allowed me to do so, and I didn’t hesitate. The Gym also have some great medical staff, which is great for me. It’s not a step backwards nor a default decision, quite the opposite. The first club that I saw this summer, was Nice. I was up for it from the beginning.” The role of sentiment in a decision like this? “I got the feeling that I had never left, there are still the same people at the club, the atmosphere is still good.”
After a good pre-season, Papy declared himself “ready” to continue his red and black history, picking up from where he left off. Which works out well, as the Gym face Monaco this weekend during an important derby against…. his boyhood club.