Premier League • England

Granovskaia gamble successful, as Chelsea stay explained for star never wanted by old boss

Marina Granovskaia Chelsea TEAMtalk

Frank Lampard never gave his full support to the signing of Malang Sarr for Chelsea, a report has revealed – but there is a growing feeling Marina Granovskaia was justified for making the decision herself.

Chelsea signed Malang Sarr in the summer of 2020 as a free agent. The promising defender had just been released at the end of his contract with Nice. However, then-manager Lampard did not have a place in his plans for him.

Sarr spent his first season as a Chelsea player out on loan with Porto. He amassed 19 appearances in all competitions before returning to the Stamford Bridge fold.

By the time the Frenchman was back in west London, Lampard had been replaced by Thomas Tuchel in the Chelsea hotseat. Sarr has promptly had a few more opportunities, making 11 appearances since.

But he faced an uncertain future in January, when he became a loan target for several clubs. Leicester City, Newcastle United and Everton were among the clubs keen to take him, perhaps on loan.

However, Chelsea kept hold of the 23-year-old to fight for a place alongside the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Trevoh Chalobah and Cesar Azpilicueta in their backline.

L’Equipe (via Sport Witness) have now shed more light on Sarr’s situation at Chelsea.

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They reveal that Lampard was not originally in favour of his arrival at the club. Instead, director Granovskaia took the initiative to make the most of the opportunity to acquire him for free.

She spotted Sarr’s potential and encouraged Chelsea to make their move, which L’Equipe believe is now paying off.

The centre-half is under contract until 2025, giving him plenty of time to grow. Just in the last couple of months, he has been stepping up in terms of responsibility.

Malang Sarr Chelsea stay explained

Chelsea defender Malang Sarr

Indeed, it seems he feels the trust of Tuchel. The French outlet carries quotes from one of his representatives, explaining the decision to stay in January.

The agent said: “During the last off-season, we tried to lend him again, but the proposals we received from France or Germany did not suit us.

“We therefore decided to leave him at Chelsea, thinking that he would have opportunities because of the problems linked to Covid but also because Tuchel gives young people a chance if they have the right state of mind.”

Rudiger, Christensen and Azpilicueta are all out of contract at the end of the season. At present, all three look more likely to leave than stay.

With that in mind, Sarr could represent a useful option for the future as long as he retains Tuchel’s trust.

And with Chelsea fighting on several fronts still this season, the coach decided to keep him around. The more he plays, the more Granovskaia will be vindicated for what was something of a transfer gamble.

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