Sarr is a star in the making, so why loan him?
One of the latest additions to Chelsea’s defense, Malang Sarr, is one of France’s most promising young center-backs, so why loan him?
Malang Starr became the last of a long line of new Chelsea hires, but unlike the others, he will have to wait his turn in the spotlight as he was sent directly back on loan. Did Frank Lampard make the wrong choice with this decision? Time will tell, but it certainly sounds questionable.
Sarr certainly fits the profile of a style of player Chelsea were looking for. A talented young center-back who is comfortable to the left of a three or four-back, someone who can even fit in at the back if necessary. However, his arrival from Nice did not meet the same fanfare as Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech or Ben Chilwell, in part because of his ignorance of the English scene. Perhaps another defensive option stole the show, with Thiago Silva signs also.
The Blues are expected to take the plunge over the fact that they have caught such a promising youngster, made even sweeter by the fact that he joined as a free agent after exhausting his contract with the French team. Typically, however, Blues fans will not be immediately served Sarr, as Lampard immediately sent the 21-year-old back to the loan market to gain experience.
Where have we heard this before? Across the landscape of football, Chelsea have always had a loan army– wandering from country to country – hoping to settle or find the way to Stamford Bridge. Some have returned to London; Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount all plied their trade in the Championship for a campaign, the latter even venturing to Vietesse. Others have been trapped in an endless cycle of clubs that have stalled their careers; Lucas Piazon has been on loan since 2012 with seven different teams, Matej Delac has gone further by securing ten loans in nine years with a total of zero appearances in a Chelsea gang.
So, where will Sarr’s future go now that he’s been released by the Blues? Working in a different environment can be either extremely beneficial or a complete burden, proven by many others who have come before the cheering defender.
Hopefully with Lampard at the helm, the Blues will give Sarr a chance no matter what. His repertoire already keeps him in good company. At the age of 20 he had peaked 100 games for Nice and won the club’s Young Player of the Year award.
Sarr also has European experience, having scored in the Europa League and being part of the Champions League qualifying rounds. Not to mention his status with the national team, having been a constant member of the France team from Under-16 to Under-21, winning the captain position with the Under-18 team.
His manager at Nice was Premier League mainstay Patrick Viera, so being coached by another top-flight English legend at Lampard would seem like a natural progression. Instead, it may find itself available to someone of lesser stature or with less innovative ideas about its development. It would not only be a blemish on its trajectory, but a negative on Chelsea’s revolutionary rebuilding.
Why wouldn’t Lampard have allowed Sarr at least a chance to prove himself in England? Maybe that decision was out of his hands. Nevertheless, it could well be the solution to the blatant defensive issues who blocked Chelsea all last season. He is a clearly confident player, who was instituted to play from behind and launch attacks, an ability that none of Chelsea’s current generations can produce properly.
Not to mention that he is a left-handed central defender! What is the bounty in modern gaming? In fact, Chelsea were extremely keen to bring Nathan Ake back to the bridge – another of the carousel players on loan – the Dutchman has finally found his place in the Manchester City books.
Only time will tell if this is the right decision for Sarr or for Chelsea. The best result: he grows as an individual and walks straight sideways in the near future. The worst result: he has poor performance and is ruled out for the life of a Chelsea player.