Premier League • England

Shrewd deal close as Chelsea teammate drives speedy negotiations for January move

Malang Sarr and Ben Chilwell celebrate Chelsea win

Inter Milan are advancing negotiations with Chelsea over a potential January transfer for underused defender Malang Sarr, according to reports in Italy.

Chelsea picked up Sarr on a free transfer after he left Nice in 2020. He was loaned to Porto that October to build up experience, but only played eight times in the Portuguese league.

Sarr has since been battling for a place back with his parent club Chelsea. However, he is behind the likes of Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Trevoh Chalobah in the pecking order at centre-back.

Thomas Tuchel has only been able to give Sarr one appearance in the Premier League and two in the Carabao Cup so far this season. Now 22 years old, it is not the kind of gametime he needs for his progression.

Therefore, Chelsea could be about to let Sarr leave for pastures new again in a deal that may benefit all concerned.

According to Sport Mediaset, Sarr is close to joining Inter Milan from January onwards. They are expected to take him on loan with the option to buy for around €15m.

It could prove to be shrewd business by Chelsea for a player they have barely used after acquiring without a transfer fee.

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From Inter’s perspective, another centre-back option is seen as a necessity. They have Milan Skriniar, Stefan De Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni as their main back three. There is only Andrea Ranocchia as a natural alternative.

Sarr would therefore be more likely to find space at San Siro, even if he wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter there either.

But he is ready to make the move and is reportedly already in Milan to negotiate after being left out of Chelsea’s squad for the draw with Manchester United on Sunday.

Romelu Lukaku advises Malang Sarr over Inter move

Malang Sarr playing for Chelsea

Furthermore, the report claims Blues teammate Romelu Lukaku has advised him over the move. The striker, of course, made the opposite switch from Inter to Chelsea in the summer after winning the Scudetto.

Inter are aiming to retain their title despite having to make plenty of changes in the summer. New coach Simone Inzaghi has inspired a good start from his evolving squad. But he will need reinforcements to keep up with the likes of Napoli and AC Milan, who are currently above them.

Sarr may not be a standout name but that isn’t necessarily an issue for an already strong side. Instead, he should provide more depth for them and get more games than he is doing at Stamford Bridge.

That said, Chelsea risk losing any of Silva, Rudiger, Christensen and Azpilicueta on free transfers in 2022. Therefore, they must work out how to ensure they have enough depth themselves for the future.

They may yet be able to convince some of the quartet to renew their contracts. But they will need to draw up contingency plans if some leave.

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