Edouard Mendy, the 6ft 6in Senegalese goalie thought to be the final piece needed in Frank Lampard’s expensively assembled Chelsea jigsaw puzzle, was found himself club-less and hopeless at 22-years-old and was even snubbed by a Ligue One side.
It was only six years ago that the 28 year old shot-stopper found himself unemployed after his contract with French fourth tier side Cherbourg expired.
After promises from an agent that a deal would be sealed with a League One side, the proposed move later fell through and the keeper was not able to find any work for the next year.
So dire was the situation that he considered walking away from the game altogether.
“For a football player or anybody else, being unemployed is like getting slapped across the face,” Mendy told So Foot magazine.
“Repeated failures leave marks on you, and you start thinking that maybe you are not made for it.”
Mendy would go back to his youth club La Havre, before settling for a spot as the fourth choice goalkeeper at Marseille.
“I reached a new level in Marseille,” he revealed.
“I trained with the pros throughout the year, which you normally would not expect as a No. 4 ‘keeper.
“It was proof that I performed well and made all the efforts required. It was a rewarding year. Training alongside players like Lassana Diarra, Abou Diaby… and winning duels against Steven Fletcher or Michy Batshuayi brought a lot to me.”
A move to Reims in search of regular game time in 2016 would lead him to becoming the chosen man between the sticks when Johann Carrasso was injured.
After a move to Rennes last season, a switch to free spending Chelsea now seems imminent.
Rennes president Nicolas Holveck confirmed the talks with Chelsea at a press conference on Wednesday, saying the 28-year-old had expressed his desire to move to Stamford Bridge.
“Discussions have started with Chelsea for Edouard Mendy,” Holveck said. “I can understand his desire, he told us. But for the moment, there is no agreement and for a transfer, we need an agreement of the three parties.”