Chelsea defender Malang Sarr has admitted the shock he felt when the Blues came in for his transfer from Nice last summer.
The 22-year-old signed under former boss Frank Lampard’s stewardship last summer. However, he has yet to make a senior appearance for the Stamford Bridge club. Instead, he moved to Porto on loan for the 2020/21 season, taking the same route as Liverpool’s Marko Grujic and West Ham’s Felipe Anderson.
Still, Sarr proved to only be a squad player in Portugal; he made eight league outings but did not feature in the final 12 matches.
Meanwhile, he played six Champions League games and took part in Porto’s domestic cup run.
Speaking to Chelsea’s official website, the Frenchman opened up on the surprise he felt when Chelsea came calling.
“I was training on my own, training at home and just waiting,” Sarr said.
“I had been almost six months without playing [after seeing Ligue 1 shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic], and when my agent told me about this opportunity to come here to Chelsea, I was surprised and happy.
“It was a great opportunity for me. He talked to me about going on loan for the first year and for me it was a good idea.
“I hadn’t played for a long time and I needed to get the rhythm and to play and have a good experience also, step up after Nice, and come back stronger and ready to go.”
While out in Portugal, though, big changes were afoot at Sarr’s parent club.
Chelsea sacked Frank Lampard in January and appointed ex-Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel.
The German has had a stunning impact, leading the Blues to Champions League triumph and the FA Cup final.
Sarr has now returned to the European champions and has hinted at a potential role under the manager.
Sarr hints at Chelsea role
“It’s a pleasure to be here, starting to work, we are working very hard and very well so I’m happy. I have enjoyed being here,” the defender added.
“I have spoken a little bit with the manager, he knows I speak French so we have been talking. I have a good feeling here; everybody is very good with me. I can feel everybody is ambitious here.
“They want to work and they really want us to give the best every day, and that’s a good thing because that’s how I see things. I really want to work hard every day and try to improve in every aspect.
“I hope to join the team and help the team to the top.
“They finished the season as Kings of Europe. I’m here to help and to let the team stay at the highest level, trying to bring all the good energy and my work to the team. I know the club is ambitious and I am ambitious as well, so it’s a perfect match.”
Chelsea have big plans for this summer’s transfer window, including a potential deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.
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