Confirmed: Chelsea signs Malang Sarr

French centre back Malang Sarr has joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Nice. The 21-year-old has signed on for five years.

The Nice native has been with the club since 2005, where he started in under 7s. After making his first-team debut in 2016, Sarr went on to play over 100 matches for Nice.

Sarr has represented France at every level from U16 to U21. He remains eligible to play senior international football for either France or Senegal.

What Sarr brings to Chelsea

Sarr is a 6 foot, left-footed central defender. He has played as a left centre back in both a back four and a back three, as well as a left-back.

As a modern centre back, Sarr is mobile and able to use short passes at the start of an attack. If he plays as a left-back, he will not offer as much going forward as the likes of Ben Chilwell or Marcos Alonso. With less pace and much more defensive instincts.

The added bonus is his left sidedness. All of Chelsea’s current central defenders – Antonio Rüdiger, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, César Azpilicueta and Fikayo Tomori – are all right-footed.

Chelsea concede that Sarr will need to spend at least the next season out on loan before he is ready for any first-team appearances.

There are a number of options for where to loan him out to. They could loan him back to Nice if they are interested, a Championship club if they want him to get used to English conditions or somewhere else in Europe.

At 21, Sarr offers a medium-term option in defence. If his loan move goes well, he could be ready for first-team appearances by the 2021/22 season. If Chelsea decide he is still a season or two away from being ready, then he’s still young enough to develop.

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