Chelsea Join Arsenal In Hunt For Teenage Defender From Nice: A Smart Move By Antonio Conte?

AS Monaco were not the only surprising side to do brilliantly in the Ligue 1 last season. OGC Nice was also one such club whose third-place finish has caught the attention of numerous scouts given the exciting talents their campaign threw up. And if reports are to be believed then Chelsea are now among the numerous suitors eyeing a move for their young centre half Malang Sarr.

The 18-year-old was one of the side’s best performers lasts season and has established himself as a first team player at a very nascent age contributing significantly to their brilliant finish in the league table. The French footballing system has been all praises for the teenager who is touted to become the next big thing for France.

Antonio Conte has brought in Antonio Rudiger in his central defence as his only defensive reinforcement this summer. However, the permanent departures of John Terry to Aston Villa and Nathan Ake to Bournemouth and the temporary move of Kurt Zouma to Stoke City has left a huge void in their defensive depth.

And with the Blues challenging on four fronts next season, they will need much more than just Rudiger to pose as a strong contender. The London club hardly had to play in the midweek fixtures lasts season, as neither were they in the European tournaments nor went far in the EFL Cup, which was one of the sole reasons for their title win last season. Conte knows he has to continue experimenting with new combinations, which could turn risky.

The young option of Sarr could come immensely handy here. He won’t be under pressure for regular playing time as yet, given his lack of experience in top-flight football making him a brilliant understudy to the likes of David Luiz, Garry Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta.

However, Chelsea are likely to face stiff competition from the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and former admirers and Premier League rivals Arsenal in his pursuit and Conte will need more than just money to secure his services. His own club remains an even bigger hindrance, who have extended his contract in November last year by four years.

His first professional contract keeps him at the club till 2021 and with Nice now in the Champions League, they are unwilling to part ways with the play at any cost. Breaking into the senior side last season, Sarr has played 33 times already scoring once and assisting twice in the French domestic league.

The academy product of Nice joined the side when he was a 5-year-old. He has improved tremendously in the past 13 years and is one of the best passers in the side though, at 182 cm, he isn’t very strong in aerial duels and could be a liability. Do you think Chelsea need Sarr for the next season?

Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.