Nampalys Mendy (born 23 June 1992) is a French professional footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for Premier League club Leicester City.
Due to his small stature, simple distribution, and reliable style of play, Mendy has been compared to former French international, Claude Makélélé. Monaco club scout Didier Christophe, for example, referred to Mendy as a “carbon copy” of Makélélé.
After leaving Sporting Toulon in June 2007, Mendy went on trial with the football section of RC Toulon. According to Monaco scout Didier Christophe, the Toulon coaches stated that Mendy was there to “make up the numbers”. However, while observing Mendy in training, Christophe noticed the player’s intelligence and understanding of the game and recommended him to Dominique Bijotat, who was serving as head of the Monaco youth academy.
On 27 April 2010, Mendy signed his first professional contract, agreeing to a three-year deal with Monaco until June 2013. In July 2010, he was called up to the first team by manager Guy Lacombe for pre-season training, again to make up the numbers with Lacombe missing several players such as Diego Pérez, Nicolas Nkoulou, Park Chu-young, and Lukman Haruna, who had all participated in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
On 7 August 2010, Mendy made his professional debut in the club’s opening league match against Lyon. He played the entire 90 minutes, receiving a yellow card in the second half. Mendy picked up his first ever red card on 19 August 2011 against Amiens SC, sent off at the 70th minute mark in a 1–1 draw.
During the 2012–13 season, Mendy played a key role in Monaco’s promotion back to Ligue 1. Despite the successful season, Mendy decided to leave Monaco at the end of the season after his contract expired.
Mendy was linked to teams such as Manchester United and Arsenal. Despite calling Manchester United his “dream club”, Mendy rejected the move to the English side because he wanted to stay in France. After some positive talks with Nice’s manager, Claude Puel, Mendy decided to join OGC Nice on a free transfer.
Mendy made his debut on 17 August 2013, in a 2–1 win against Stade Rennais. After club captain Didier Digard left for Real Betis on a free transfer at the end of 2014–15 season, and new captain Mathieu Bodmer was injured, Mendy was named captain.
Mendy made 110 appearances in three seasons for Nice and helped them to a fourth-place finish in Ligue 1 in 2015–16. He had the second highest number of passes behind Thiago Motta (2950), the most passes per game (78), and a passing accuracy of (92%), best of any player not a member of Paris Saint-Germain.
Mendy (in blue) playing for Leicester City in 2017
On 3 July 2016, Mendy moved to English Premier League champions Leicester City, managed by his former boss at Monaco, Claudio Ranieri, signing a four-year deal for £13 million, a club record at the time. The transfer record was broken again when Ahmed Musa joined Leicester for £16 million five days later, and yet again less than two months later when Islam Slimani joined Leicester for £29 million.
Mendy played his first competitive game for Leicester in a 2–1 defeat to Manchester United in the 2016 FA Community Shield on 7 August, coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute for Andy King. He suffered an ankle injury on his league debut at home against Arsenal on 20 August 2016 and was substituted in the 53rd minute. Mendy was sidelined for more than three months, and did not make his return until 7 December 2016 in a Champions League group stage match away to Porto, playing the entire game in a 5–0 defeat. He ultimately made only four league appearances for the season.
On 31 July 2017, Mendy rejoined Nice on loan.
On 24 August 2020, Mendy signed a two-year contract extension with the club.