Premier League • England

Ruthless Boehly ‘blocks’ Chelsea exit over one key issue; star who needs transfer has one option left

Todd Boehly, Chelsea, December 2023

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has refused to offload one player

Todd Boehly and Chelsea would not budge over the future of Malang Sarr, despite the defender being keen to leave and play more regularly elsewhere, according to various sources.

Sarr arrived in England in August 2020, when Chelsea signed him on a free transfer from Nice. However, the centre-back, who can also play as a left-back, has not been able to force his way into the Chelsea team since then. He has only made 21 first-team appearances for the Blues, and has had to rely on loan spells at Porto and Monaco for guaranteed game time.

Sarr was handed a huge snub in September when manager Mauricio Pochettino opted to leave him out of Chelsea’s Premier League squad. Unsurprisingly, the Frenchman has not played for Chelsea in any competition this season.

He will have been desperate to depart Stamford Bridge during the winter transfer window to get his career back up and running. But according to French sources L’Equipe and Foot Mercato, Chelsea prevented Sarr from finding a new club.

Sarr was aware of interest from other teams, most notably Le Havre, who were hoping to take him back to Ligue 1.

But Le Havre, who occupy 11th place in the French top flight, did not have the funds to match Chelsea’s demands either for a loan or permanent transfer. As such, they were hopeful that Sarr and Chelsea could terminate the player’s contract in West London, which runs until summer 2025.

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However, it is claimed that Boehly and Chelsea ‘blocked’ and ‘derailed’ Sarr’s exit as they would not agree to end his contract early. It is possible that Sarr asked for some of his future wages to be paid in a lump sum when leaving, but Chelsea were not willing to do this.

As such, Sarr has remained at Chelsea beyond the transfer deadline for the big five European leagues, which was Thursday night at 11pm. Although, all hope is not lost for the former France U21 international.

The Turkish window remains open until February 9, and Super Lig clubs often rescue forgotten Premier League players who are in need of a move. Recent examples include Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech, who is on loan at Galatasaray, Tanguy Ndombele, Davinson Sanchez, Fred and Michy Batshuayi.

Sarr will be hoping that clubs such as Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas or Trabzonspor come forward to rescue him from his disappointing Chelsea spell. Those teams will have more spending power than Le Havre, so they might be able to pay a transfer fee for him, rather than the player having to try and end his Chelsea deal.

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