Chelsea: Sarr is a star in the making, so why loan him out?

SERRAVALLE, ITALY - JUNE 21: Malang Sarr of France looks on during the 2019 UEFA U-21 Group C match between France and Croatia at San Marino Stadium on June 21, 2019 in Serravalle, Italy. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
SERRAVALLE, ITALY - JUNE 21: Malang Sarr of France looks on during the 2019 UEFA U-21 Group C match between France and Croatia at San Marino Stadium on June 21, 2019 in Serravalle, Italy. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

One of the newest additions to the Chelsea defense, Malang Sarr, is one of the most promising young centerbacks out of France, so why loan him out?

Malang Starr became the latest in a lengthy line of new Chelsea recruits, but unlike the others, he will have to wait for his turn in the spotlight as he has been sent straight back on loan. Has Frank Lampard made the wrong move on this decision? Time will tell, but it certainly looks questionable.

Sarr certainly fits the profile of a style of player Chelsea has been looking for. A young, talented central defender who is comfortable on the left of a back three or four, someone who can even slot in at fullback, if required. However, his arrival from Nice has not been met with similar fanfare as the likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech or Ben Chilwell, partly due to his unfamiliarity upon the English scene. Perhaps another defensive option has stolen the limelight, with Thiago Silva signing as well.

The Blues should be leaping at the fact they have snapped up such a promising youngster, made even sweeter by the fact he joined as a free agent having run out his contract at the French outfit. Typically though, Blues fans will not be served up Sarr straight away as Lampard has sent the 21-year-old immediately back into the loan market to gain experience.

Where have we heard this before? Across the landscape of football, Chelsea has always had a loan army—roaming from country to country—hoping to settle or find their way back to Stamford Bridge. Some have navigated back 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 has stalled their careers; Lucas Piazon has been out on loan since 2012 with seven different sides, Matej Delac went one further—achieving ten loans in nine years with a grand total of zero appearances in a Chelsea strip.

So, which way will Sarr’s future go now he has been set free by the Blues? Plying one’s trade in a different environment can either be extremely beneficial or a complete burden, proven by numerous others who have preceded the encouraging defender.

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Hopefully with Lampard at the helm, the Blues will give Sarr a chance no matter what. His repertoire already stands him in fine company. By the age of 20, he had culminated 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 featured in the Champions League qualifying rounds. Not to mention his status with the national team, having been a consistent member of the French squad from under-16s through to the under-21s, earning the captaincy at with the under-18 side.

His manager at Nice was Premier League stalwart Patrick Viera, therefore being coached by another English top flight legend in Lampard would seem like a natural progression. Instead, he may find himself at the disposal of someone with lesser stature or with less innovative ideas about his development. This would not only be a blotch on his trajectory, but a negative upon Chelsea’s revolutionary rebuild.

Why could Lampard not have allowed Sarr at least a chance to prove himself in England? Perhaps that decision was out of his hands. Nevertheless, he could well be the solution to the glaring defensive problems that were damming to Chelsea all of last season. He’s a clearly confident player, who has been instituted in playing out from the back and starting attacks, an ability that none of the current Chelsea crop can properly yield.

Not to mention he is a left-footed centreback! How premium are those in the modern game? In fact, Chelsea was extremely keen on bringing Nathan Ake back to the Bridge—another of the loanee merry-go-round players—the Dutchman eventually found his way onto the Manchester City books.

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Only time will tell whether this is the correct move for Sarr or for Chelsea. The best outcome: he grows as an individual and walks straight into the side in the near future. The worst outcome: he performs poorly and is shunted out for the life of a Chelsea loanee.